Drunk driving kills one person every 52 minutes throughout the nation. If you or a family member has been in an accident with a drunk driver, you don’t have to pay your damages on your own. You have a right to recover substantial financial rewards, but you need to talk to a Stockbridge drunk driving victim accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Let John Foy & Associates put our 20 years of experience to work for you. Our law firm’s mission is to help accident victims get the most money possible so they can heal from their injuries and move forward with their lives. Call us to schedule your free consultation today.
What does DUI Mean in Stockbridge?
Most people think of DUI as drunk driving. Still, the City of Stockbridge follows the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §40-6-391, which defines DUI to include driving while impaired by any substance, including drugs as well as alcohol.
Any substance that can cause you to lose control, affect your nervous system, or alter your response time can impact your driving. Common substances involved in DUI cases include:
- Prescription medicine
- Over-the-counter medication that causes drowsiness
- Illegal drugs like marijuana, heroin, or cocaine
Most of the time, the police give a driver a chemical test to detect alcohol or drugs. For example, breath and blood tests can determine whether a driver has a greater blood alcohol content than the legal limit of .08%. In addition, blood and urine tests can show whether a driver has drugs in their system. But some drivers never take a test and still get convicted of DUI.
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What Should I Do If I Get Hit by a Drunk Driver?
The most important thing to do is get emergency medical treatment for yourself and anyone else who needs it. If your injuries don’t need immediate care, there are some things you can do at the accident scene to protect your rights. We recommend that you:
- Phone the police. A police accident report is an integral part of your claim, so you should make sure the police get called to the scene. Wait for the officers to arrive and tell them precisely what happened.
- Tell the police you believe the other driver is intoxicated. Explain the reason for your suspicions, and the police can then observe the other driver and administer field sobriety or Breathalyzer tests to see if they are in fact under the influence. They may arrest the driver for DUI right away.
- Take a video of your conversations with the other driver. Impaired drivers may slur their speech, seem unsteady on their feet or become argumentative. Your cell phone camera is an excellent way to collect evidence of what you saw and heard, and the recording can give a jury a clear view of what happened instead of relying on what you and the other driver said.
- Watch the other driver. Keep your cell phone camera handy and record any attempts by the other driver to get rid of the evidence. Impaired drivers often throw things away or use eye drops to cover up bloodshot eyes.
- Talk with witnesses. If bystanders or people stopped to help, find out if they saw the accident or the driver’s behavior just before the accident. They may also have observed the driver’s intoxication at the accident scene, so ask them what they saw and get their contact information.
Most importantly, speak with our drunk driving victim accident attorneys in Stockbridge as soon as you can. Any case involving DUI is complicated, and you can be sure that the insurance company will want to avoid paying you what your case is worth.
How Much Can I Win in Compensation?
The law allows you to recover for all your economic and non-economic damages such as:
- Medical costs, including hospitals and specialists
- Lost wages due to missed days at work
- The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle
- Large amounts of money for serious losses such as pain and disabilities
- Mental anguish and emotional trauma
- Wrongful death
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
These damages aren’t limited to DUI cases. They’re available to victims of all types of auto accidents. But DUI victims are also allowed to recover additional money known as punitive damages.
Punitive damages exist to punish behavior that the state wants to discourage, like drunk driving. So, in addition to helping accident victims move on with their lives, punitive damages send a strong signal that Georgia has no tolerance for DUI.
Because of punitive damages, you may be entitled to much more money than you expect. As a result, we often see DUI accident claims that are worth more than $100,000 but keep in mind that these are just general estimates. For a concrete evaluation of how much your drunk driving damages are worth, we will have to review your case.
What If I Was Riding in a Drunk Driver’s Car?
You don’t lose your legal rights just because you were riding with a drunk driver. The driver still made a wrong decision and is legally accountable for it. Like other DUI accident victims, you are entitled to all of your costs and damages, plus possible punitive damages.
However, local courts sometimes treat a drunk driver’s passengers differently than other victims. For example, a court may not want to award you as much money if you knew the driver was impaired and got in the car anyway. Therefore, if you are a passenger, it’s a good idea to speak with a Stockbridge drunk driving victim accident attorney right away.
The Statute of Limitations for Drunk Driving Victims in Stockbridge
There is a general two-year statute of limitations for drunk driving accident victims in Stockbridge. Some cases may have more time, others less. It’s best to get started building a solid case for your claim as soon as possible. Evidence can deteriorate fast, so time isn’t on your side.
Many people have missed their opportunity to file a claim for damages after a drunk driving accident. Don’t wait until the very end to start the process. We don’t encourage you to rush into it, only that you understand that the longer you wait, the harder it will be to win a fair settlement.
Never Accept the Initial Settlement Offer from the Insurance Company
An insurance adjuster may try to contact you after your accident. If you can, try to avoid speaking to anyone from the insurance company. The minute you start talking to them about details regarding your case, they will use whatever you say against you during negotiations or at trial.
Insurance companies aren’t on your side. Their main goal is to downplay your damages and injuries after your accident, so they pay the least amount possible for your settlement. They may offer you a lump sum of cash initially. Never accept this, as this amount is far less than what you deserve and will absolve them of any further liability.
Our Stockbridge drunk driving victim accident lawyers know how insurance companies work. The truth is, the very act of hiring strong legal representation is more than enough to get them to settle in your favor. Hiring a lawyer is the best investment you can make to ensure that you don’t get cheated out of a settlement that properly accounts for all of your damages.
You don’t Pay Unless We Win for You
You may be hesitant to pay for a lawyer, especially if your damages caused you financial hardship. However, our goal as your drunk driving victim accident lawyer in Stockbridge is to get you the maximum amount of compensation possible. The last thing we want is to be a source of financial strain right after an accident.
We don’t accept any payment up front and charge no hidden fees for our services. We get paid out of a portion of your settlement only if we can win one for your case. If we can’t win compensation, you owe us absolutely nothing.
Speak to a Stockbridge Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
A single accident can change your life forever. But you shouldn’t bear the financial burden of someone else’s decision to drive drunk. Our lawyers here at John Foy & Associates provide free consultations where we’ll talk about your case and how to get the money you deserve. Contact us or fill out the form to your right and schedule your appointment with us today.