Every day, drunk driving kills one person every 52 minutes and injures hundreds more. If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, you have a right to recover compensation. To get the best financial recovery possible, talk to our Marietta drunk driving accident lawyers as soon as you can after the accident.
The lawyers at John Foy & Associates can help. Our firm has been aiding drunk driving accident victims for over 20 years. Our entire practice focuses on meeting the needs of accident victims, and we never take the side of insurance companies. We want to get you as much money as possible so you can start putting your life back on track.
What Constitutes a Drunk Driving Accident in Marietta?
The City of Marietta follows Georgia’s state laws for DUI, which define DUI not only as “drunk driving” but also driving while impaired by any substance. This can include drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two. If a substance affects your response time, your ability to control yourself, or your central nervous system, it can also impact your ability to drive safely.
We often see these substances involved in DUI cases:
- Prescribed drugs
- Over the counter medicines that make drivers drowsy
- Drugs that are against the law, such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana
The police usually administer a chemical test to determine whether a driver is under the influence. When a driver has been drinking, blood or breath tests can show whether the driver’s blood alcohol content exceeds the legal limit of .08%, which is about the equivalent of two drinks for many drivers.
Urine and blood tests can also determine whether the driver had drugs in their system. But drivers are sometimes convicted of DUI in criminal court when no chemical test was given.
Get the strong arm
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer to Help Me?
Everyone has the right to defend themselves and pursue compensation for an accident on their own. However, this isn’t the best option to take unless you have prior experience with personal injury and car accident law. You should always get an experienced lawyer to help you.
Our Marietta drunk driving victim accident lawyers will:
- Help you gather evidence and retain essential records.
- Consult with experts in various fields to provide supporting testimony.
- Help you get the best medical treatment available.
- Answer all of your legal questions and handle all of the legal grunt work.
- Represent you and your best interests at all times.
- Handle all of your communications.
- Review all settlement deals to ensure they’re fair and appropriately reflect your damages.
While you rest and recover, our lawyers will do everything so you can focus on your health while we fight for the settlement you need.
What Should I Do After an Accident with a Drunk Driver in Marietta?
Get medical attention for yourself and anyone else that was hurt. In addition, we recommend that you do as much as you can to protect your legal rights and make a record of the accident. There are several ways to do this.
Call the Police
Even if the accident seems minor, get law enforcement involved. Stay at the accident scene until officers arrive and then tell them what happened. The police will prepare an unbiased accident report that will be a necessary piece of evidence in your claim.
Let the officer know that you believe the other driver is under the influence. Don’t second-guess yourself. Officers know how to spot an intoxicated person, and they can administer breath tests and field sobriety tests. The results of these tests could be an arrest, and they can be crucial evidence in your claim.
Record the Other Driver
If you think the other driver is under the influence, use your cell phone to make a video recording of their conversation with you. A video can graphically show the other driver’s condition, and it can be pretty powerful when played for a jury.
Be watchful and keep that camera handy. Impaired drivers often try to destroy evidence of their drinking or drug use, by throwing things away or emptying containers. Watch for this type of behavior. You don’t have to do or say anything, but try to video-record it as it’s happening.
Talk to Witnesses
Accidents often involve witnesses who stop to see if they can help. There may also be bystanders who may have watched the other driver’s erratic moves. Talk to anyone who’s at the scene and get their contact information.
Most importantly, make an appointment with a lawyer soon after the accident. DUI cases can involve complicated evidence, and it is unlikely the insurance company will offer you what your case is worth.
How Much Money Can I Get from a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Marietta?
You can recover all of your costs and damages in a DUI accident in Marietta. These include:
- Health care expenses
- The pay you lost by being out of work because of your accident
- The cost of fixing your car or buying another one
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional trauma
- Wrongful death
- Disfigurement and disability
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Never pay for any of your damages out of pocket. Our drunk driving victim accident lawyers in Marietta will calculate all of your damages accurately. We will ensure nothing gets left out and you get the maximum amount possible for your claim.
Punitive Damages for Drunk Driving Accident Claims
You can get compensated for these sorts of injuries and damages in any car accident case. But suppose someone who was driving under the influence caused your accident. In that case, a court may also award you additional money as punitive damages following the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-12-5.1.
Punitive damages exist to punish the person who caused the accident. This punishment sends a strong message to the public that drunk drivers will be held accountable for the consequences of driving under the influence.
Because of the possibility of punitive damages, your drunk driving case may be worth a lot more than you’d expect. We often see DUI accident cases that win more than $100,000. Keep in mind that not all cases will qualify for punitive damages, but if yours does, our lawyers will actively pursue a reward for them.
Can I File a Claim If I Was a Passenger in the Drunk Driver’s Car?
Yes, your rights are the same whether you were riding in the drunk driver’s vehicle or in a car that the drunk driver hit. In either case, it was the driver’s poor choices that caused your injuries. But even though you have the same rights as other victims, the local courts may not always see it that way.
For example, if you got in the car knowing that the driver was under the influence, a court may give you a smaller financial award or may decide you aren’t entitled to punitive damages. For this reason, it’s best to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
Statute of Limitations for Drunk Driving Accidents
Even though the law is on your side as a drunk driving accident victim, you still have a deadline to file. The statute of limitations ends two years from the date of your accident. If you pass this deadline, there’s nothing you can do, as exceptions are scarce and often not granted.
Two years may seem like a long time, but don’t get too comfortable. There have been plenty of people who waste time and let the statute of limitations expire. Don’t wait until the last minute to start filing your claim.
Don’t Trust the Insurance Companies
The drunk driver’s insurance company is going to reach out to you after your accident to see if you’ll accept their initial settlement offer. They might even try to convince you that filing a claim is a waste of time and hiring a lawyer is a waste of money. Don’t believe a word they say. In fact, try not to speak to them until you get legal representation on your side.
It’s true – anything you say or do will be used against you. Insurance companies are looking for every way to get you to settle fast or admit fault to your own accident. Never settle for anything less than the full amount of compensation you rightfully deserve.
Talk to a Marietta Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
Drunk driving is against the law, and there’s no reason you should have to pay for the consequences of someone else’s mistake. Let John Foy & Associates give you a free consultation to go over your case and discuss your options for getting the money you’re legally entitled to. You can contact us at any time online or over the phone. We are available 24/7.