Fewer Americans are driving drunk, but that doesn’t mean everyone is safe—drunk driving has killed 3700 people on Georgia’s roads in a 10-year period. And DUI accidents happen all too often in Duluth. Drunk driving is illegal, and if you have been in an accident with a drunk driver, you don’t have to bear the financial toll. Under Georgia law, you can recover money to pay medical bills and other losses, and you may also be eligible for large financial awards. A Duluth drunk driving accident lawyer can help you.
At John Foy & Associates, our law firm’s only goal is to help accident victims get the money they need to continue their journey to recovery. We have a 20-year track record of successful results for victims of DUIs and other accidents. We always fight for victims, and never take the side of drunk drivers or the insurance companies that try to deny your claims. Let us meet with you for free and explain what we can do for you. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What is the legal definition of “DUI” in Duluth?
In the City of Duluth, DUI means much more than just driving drunk. It includes driving while impaired by any substance, such as legal drugs, illegal drugs or alcohol. Any substance that can affect your judgement, your self-control, or your driving can be the basis for a DUI case. The most common of these substances include:
- Prescription drugs
- Illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine
- Over the counter drugs that cause drowsiness
Most of the time, law enforcement authorities use chemical tests to detect the presence of substances in a driver’s system. Breath and blood tests can show whether someone was driving with a blood alcohol content greater than the legal limit of .08 percent. Blood and urine samples are taken to test for the presence of drugs. But tests are not essential for a DUI charge, and a driver can be convicted even if there was never any test at all.
What can I do to protect myself after a drunk driving accident?
Your first order of business should be to call for emergency medical help for yourself or anyone else who needs it. Once these immediate needs are taken care of, you can also take some steps to protect your rights, if you are able. This includes:
- Calling the police. A police officer will come to the accident scene and talk to you, the other driver, and witnesses, and prepare an objective report showing what happened. You will need an accident report to present a strong claim.
- Telling the officer that you suspect a DUI. Explain that you believe the other driver is impaired, and the reasons for your suspicions. Officers are trained to look for telltale signs of intoxication, but your observations increase the chance that the officer will investigate further, perhaps arresting the other driver for DUI right away.
- Record your conversations with the impaired driver. A video of the other driver stumbling, swaying, slurring words or being overly aggressive can be powerful evidence of the driver’s level of impairment.
- Watch the other driver. Drunk drivers don’t like to get caught, so they have typical behaviors after an accident. If you see the other driver pouring out drinks, hiding things, throwing things away, or even using eye drops to disguise bloodshot eyes, pull out your cell phone camera and shoot some video.
- Talk with witnesses. Be sure to chat with people who might have seen the accident or stopped to help. Even if these bystanders didn’t see the crash, they may be witnesses to the impaired driver’s behavior before or after the accident. Get witnesses’ names and contact information so you can follow up later.
Regardless of what you can learn or document at the scene, ALWAYS make an appointment to talk to a lawyer as soon as you can. DUI cases tend to be complicated and the sooner your lawyer begins working on your claim, the better your chance for a full financial recovery.
How much money will I get in a DUI accident claim in Duluth?
Every accident is different, and there’s no “typical” amount that you will receive. But the law in Georgia does allow you to recover the full amount of your costs and damages. This means you may be able to recover money for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost wages—the pay you missed because of the accident
- The cost of repairing your car, or replacing a totaled car
- Other severe losses such as pain and suffering or a disability
DUI accidents are different than most other types of car accidents because there is an additional type of damages you may be eligible for. These damages, known as “punitive damages” can be very substantial. Punitive damages help you rebuild your life, but their main purpose is to punish the drunk driver for making poor choices that endanger the lives of others.
Because of the possibility of punitive damages, it’s not unusual for a DUI claim to be worth upwards of $100,000. Some end up paying over $1 million.
Can I still recover money if I was in the drunk driver’s car?
Yes. The law treats all victims of DUI accidents the same, no matter whose car you were riding in. However, we have found that claims tend to be more complicated for the drunk driver’s passengers than for other accident victims. Insurance companies and even the local courts may not be as sympathetic to you, and they may try to award you less money, especially if you knew the driver was drunk and got in the car anyway. To maximize your chance of financial recovery, contact a lawyer immediately after the accident if you were a passenger.
Talk to a Duluth Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
Impaired drivers are making poor choices, but you don’t have to pay for them. At John Foy & Associates we have been helping victims of drunk driving accidents for more than 20 years. Let us give you a free consultation to talk about your case and explain your options. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.