Drunk driving accidents are among the most tragic and preventable car accidents in the Macon area. While drunk driving generally has been on the decline, it’s still the cause of a third of all car accident deaths. From 2003 to 2012, 3700 people lost their lives in Georgia.
If you have been in an accident with someone who was driving drunk, you have a right to recover your medical bills and other costs plus additional large financial awards. You should contact a drunk driving victim accident lawyer in Macon from John Foy & Associates right away.
What Is Considered a DUI in Macon?
In Macon-Bibb County and throughout Georgia, “DUI” means driving while impaired by any substance, not just alcohol. Any substance that can impair your nervous system, your time, or ability to control yourself can be the basis for a DUI. The most common substances involved in DUI claims are:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Prescription drugs
- Over-the-counter drugs that lead to drowsiness
- Illegal drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin
Law enforcement officers will usually administer a chemical test to determine whether a driver is under the influence. A person is legally under the influence of alcohol if their blood alcohol content is 0.08% or more, as determined by a breath or blood test. Contrary to popular belief, a test is not required to convict a person of driving under the influence.
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I’ve Been Hit by a Drunk Driver in Macon. What Should I Do Next?
After any accident, the most important thing is to get emergency medical treatment for yourself and anyone else who was hurt. If your injuries are not serious, we also recommend taking some simple steps to protect your rights. We suggest that you:
- Involve the police: An intoxicated driver won’t want you to call the police, but you should call them anyway. The police will interview drivers and witnesses, look at the damage, and write a report documenting what happened. The accident report is a critical piece of evidence that will support your claim.
- Tell the police if you believe the other driver is impaired: Police officers are trained to assess drivers for intoxication and administer field sobriety and breathalyzer tests. If you suspect the other driver was drunk, tell the officer and explain why you came to that conclusion, even if you’re not sure you’re right. It will help your claim if the officer arrests the other driver at the scene.
- Record conversations with the other driver: Use your cell phone to record a video of your conversations with the impaired driver. The video will capture telltale signs like unsteadiness, slurred speech or aggressive behavior. A video from the scene can be powerful evidence if your case ever goes to trial.
- Watch the other driver: An impaired driver may try to destroy evidence before the police arrive. If you see the other driver hiding things, using eye drops or pouring out containers of liquid, capture it with your phone’s video camera.
- Talk with witnesses: Find out if bystanders saw the accident or the drunk driver’s erratic behavior leading up to the accident. Get their names and contact information.
Finally, contact an experienced drunk driving victim accident lawyer in Macon as soon as you can. DUI cases can be complicated and you can be sure that the other driver’s insurance company will not offer you nearly as much as your case is truly worth.
Macon Drunk Driving Victim Accident Lawyer Near Me 404-400-4000
What Kinds of Damages Can I Get in a DUI Case in Georgia?
In Georgia, victims of automobile accidents are entitled to recover all their damages and costs. In a typical case, that might include:
- Medical bills
- Lost pay (from missing work because of the accident)
- Car repairs or replacement
- Large financial awards for disabilities, wrongful death, or pain and suffering
DUI cases are a little different than most auto accident cases because DUI accident victims may be eligible for even more money. A judge may award you “punitive damages” to punish the drunk driver. In some cases, these punitive damages may far exceed your costs. Many DUI claims are worth more than $100,000.
What If the Drunk Driver Fled the Scene?
A drunk driver fleeing the scene is a serious offense. Although you may worry that this means you will be unable to seek financial reparation for the drunk driving accident, it may still be possible. Try to write down as much information as you can, such as:
- The drunk driver’s license plate
- The drunk driver’s make, model, or color of the vehicle
- Details of the incident
If there were any witnesses to the accident, you will want to try and speak to them. They may have details about the accident that you don’t. Ask them what they remember about the accident before, as it happened, and right after it happened.
Make sure you report the accident right away and indicate that it was a hit-and-run. Provide as many details as you can to the police. Afterward, you should contact our team so we can start investigating the accident and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
For a free legal consultation with a drunk driving victim accidents lawyer serving Macon, call 404-400-4000
Is the Drunk Driver Automatically at Fault?
When it comes to an accident, drunk drivers are not automatically at fault. While a drunk driver is breaking the law by driving drunk, they may not automatically be at fault. It is possible for a drunk driver to get into an accident but not be at fault for causing the accident.
The drunk driver’s insurance company may claim that the drunk driver was at fault—likely to avoid paying out compensation. Should this type of situation occur, it’s best to have an experienced Macon drunk driving victim accident attorney on your side who can help you prove fault and navigate the process.
What If I Was Riding With the Drunk Driver as a Passenger?
If you were injured as a drunk driver’s passenger, you have the same rights as any other accident victim. The driver chose to operate a vehicle while impaired, and it is the driver – not you – who must pay for that decision. But in some cases, the Macon-Bibb courts may see you as less deserving than other accident victims.
One situation is that if you knew the driver was drunk when you got in the car, a judge may not want to award you as much money or may not want to give you punitive damages. We recommend that you get in touch with one of our lawyers as soon as possible so you can discuss the right strategy.
Talk to a Macon Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
If you are a victim of a drunk driving accident, you deserve to be compensated. At John Foy & Associates, we’ve seen how a drunk driver can drastically change a life forever. We don’t want you to have to pay for someone else’s poor choices, and we have the skill and experience to ensure you receive just compensation.
We’ve been helping victims of accidents get the financial recovery they’re entitled to for more than 20 years. In that time, we’ve handled many DUI cases, and we always take the side of the victim – never the drunk driver or the insurance company.
Let our Macon drunk driving victim accident lawyers give you a free consultation and start you on the road to getting the money to which you are entitled. Call us today or fill out our contact form to the right of the page.