Drunk driving accidents happen frequently in Savannah, even though there are fewer drunk drivers on American roads than there used to be. In Georgia alone, drunk driving accidents claimed 3,700 lives over a 10-year period, accounting for a third of all car accident deaths. If you or a loved one has been in an accident with a drunk driver, you have a right to money for your medical bills, medications, physical therapy and even lost income. You may also be eligible for additional large amounts of money, but you need to talk to a Savannah drunk driving accident lawyer.
John Foy & Associates is ready and willing to help. We’ve spent the past two decades helping DUI accident victims get the financial resources they need to put their lives back together. Our philosophy is simple: we always work for the victims and never take the side of drunk drivers or insurance companies. Let our experienced attorneys give you a free consultation to talk about your accident and explain how we can help. Call us at 912-574-2287 and get your free consultation today.
What is considered a “DUI” in Savannah?
“DUI” is short for “driving under the influence,” and in the City of Savannah—and all of Georgia—it means driving while impaired by any sort of substance. DUI is often used interchangeably with “drunk driving,” but DUI doesn’t necessary mean a driver is impaired by alcohol. The impairment can be caused by anything that affects a driver’s response time, nervous system, or self-control. Substances involved in a DUI might include:
- Prescription drugs
- Over the counter drugs that lead to drowsiness
- Marijuana, cocaine, crack and other illegal substances
Usually, law enforcement authorities will administer a chemical test to determine whether a driver is under the influence of a substance. For example, they use breath and blood tests to show whether a driver’s blood alcohol content Is above the legal limit of .08 percent. Or, blood or urine tests might be used to detect drugs. However, a test is not essential for someone to be convicted of DUI.
If I’m hit by a drunk driver in Savannah, what should I do?
No matter what kind of accident you’re in, the main priority is to get medical help for yourself and anyone else who needs it. However, if your injuries allow, we also recommend doing a few simple things to protect your rights and create a record of what happened. Steps to take include:
- Calling the police. This is very important because police officers will come to the scene, observe injuries and damage, and talk to the drivers and witnesses. This information goes into an accident report which is important evidence to support your claim.
- Letting the officers know you believe the other driver is impaired. Police officers are trained to sport signs of intoxication, but don’t leave this to chance. Tell the officer what you’ve observed and why you think the other driver is intoxicated. This increases the chance that the officer will administer tests and arrest the other driver at the scene.
- Making a video of your conversation with the other driver. Videos can be powerful evidence showing the visible signs that the other driver was drunk. A video can pick up wobbly posture, slurred speech or aggressive behavior far more graphically than your mere statement about what you saw.
- Watching for suspicious behavior. Impaired drivers don’t want to get caught, so they’ll often try to destroy the evidence—dumping out drinks, throwing away drugs or using eye drops or breath mints. While they’re busy covering up their bad behavior, quietly video record what they’re doing.
- Talking with witnesses. People at the scene may have seen the accident happen. They might have been on the road watching the drunk driver’s erratic behavior before the accident occurred. Or they may see the driver acting intoxicated at the accident scene. Get their names and contact information.
And perhaps most important of all, make an appointment with a lawyer right away. DUI accidents can be complicated, and the sooner you have a lawyer working on your case, the more likely you’ll be able to recover what your claim is truly worth.
How much money will I recover in a DUI claim in Savannah?
If your accident happened in Savannah or anywhere else in Georgia, you can recover ALL of the costs and damages resulting from the accident. Usually, this will include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages to make up for work time you missed because of the accident
- Car repairs, or the cost of replacing a totaled car
- Substantial financial awards for serious losses such as pain, suffering and disabilities
These costs and damages aren’t limited to DUI accidents—you can recover them any time you are injured in a vehicle accident that wasn’t your fault. What makes DUI accidents different is the possibility of “punitive damages.” This is additional money that a court may order a driver to pay you as a punishment for driving drunk. This money helps you stay stable financially, but its real purpose is to send a message to the public that Georgia will deal harshly with people who choose to endanger lives by driving drunk.
Because of punitive damages, your DUI accident claim may be worth much more than an ordinary car accident claim—often at least $100,000.
What if I was a passenger riding with the drunk driver?
From a legal standpoint, you have the same rights as any other person injured in the accident. It should not matter whose car you were riding in. But from a practical standpoint, it may affect how much sympathy the local courts have for your case, especially if you knew the driver was impaired. They may try to award you a smaller amount, or say you’re not entitled to punitive damages.
This means you need a lawyer to help you think through the best way to handle your case so you get the maximum recovery possible.
Talk to a Savannah Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a drunk driver, you shouldn’t have to bear the cost of the other driver’s poor choices. At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping DUI victims get the money they deserve for more than 20 years. Let us offer you a free consultation to talk about your case and explain your options. Call us at 912-574-2287 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.