Car accident injuries can range from minor to deadly. If the at-fault driver was breaking the law and caused severe injuries during the accident, they can incur severe penalties for their actions. What’s considered a serious injury in a car accident is defined under Georgia law.
Our car accident lawyers can do much more than just explain what gets considered a serious injury for car accident cases. If you’ve suffered a car accident, allow us to help. Don’t pay for any of the damages you sustained out of pocket.
What Is Serious Injury By Vehicle in Georgia?
Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §40-6-394, a driver is guilty of causing serious injury by vehicle if they were driving under the influence (DUI) or engaging in reckless driving and caused injuries that:
- Deprived the victim of a member of his body
- Rendered a member of the victim’s body useless
- Seriously disfigured the victim’s body or a member of their body
- Caused organic brain damage that renders the victim’s body or a member of their body useless
When a person gets convicted of serious injury by vehicle, it’s a felony punishable by between one and 15 years in prison. The amount of prison time will depend on the specific circumstances of the car accident. For example, a driver is likely to get more prison time if they had prior DUI convictions or higher blood alcohol levels.
The serious injury by vehicle charge doesn’t need to happen by malice. That means, even if the at-fault party says they did not intend to drive recklessly or cause an accident, they can still get charged. In fact, a driver might even be charged with serious injury by vehicle if a passenger in their car gets seriously injured in a crash the driver caused.
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What Are Types of Serious Injuries from Car Accidents in Georgia?
OCGA §40-6-394 doesn’t mention specific types of serious injuries. In other Georgia statutes, serious injuries have been defined as:
- Severe burns
- Bone fractures
- Loss of consciousness
- And the partial or total loss of hearing or sight
The serious injury by vehicle charge can result from serious or catastrophic injuries as defined under Title 42 §3796b, and the injuries don’t necessarily need to be permanent. Even if an injury is temporary, it can still count if it is serious. After a DUI car accident or reckless driving accident, a judge or jury will typically determine what is considered a serious injury from the accident.
In addition to the compensation you can recover for your damages, it’s possible that your serious injuries after your car accident could also result in a reward for punitive damages. While punitive damage rewards aren’t meant to be compensatory, you can still receive them. However, the at-fault driver will have to pay them to you as punishment for their actions.
Most serious injuries result from car accidents that involve gross negligence. Therefore, if your car accident case shows that the driver that caused you to suffer your injuries was egregiously negligent in their behavior, your case may qualify for a reward.
DUI or Reckless Driving Must Be Proven
In order for a driver to get convicted of serious injury by vehicle, you have to prove that the driver was guilty of either reckless driving or DUI. A person also cannot be convicted of both reckless driving and serious injury by vehicle or DUI and serious injury by vehicle.
That’s because DUI and reckless driving charges typically get seen as a lesser part of the serious injury by vehicle offense. If more than one person suffered a serious injury in the DUI or reckless driving car accident, the driver could be charged with multiple counts of “serious injury by vehicle.”
Diagnosis of a serious injury may require a doctor’s medical opinion after tests and documentation. This will be necessary to show what a victim has suffered due to the car accident and the driver’s negligence.
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What If Someone Dies from Their Serious Injury?
If someone dies in a car accident where the at-fault driver engages in criminal behavior, such as drunk driving, they can face charges such as vehicular homicide. If one victim gets seriously injured in the accident and another dies, the at-fault driver may face charges for both vehicular homicide and serious injury by vehicle.
How a Car Accident Attorney in Georgia Can Help
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury in a car accident in Georgia, you’ll want to speak with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. This type of accident is serious, and you deserve compensation for what was lost. Your lawyer can help by:
- Investigating the accident, including the driver’s level of impairment of the amount of reckless driving in the crash
- Gathering evidence of your damages
- Building a strong claim or lawsuit for full financial recovery
- Communicating and negotiating with the insurance company
Cases involving serious damages may be grounds for suing the other driver. An experienced car accident lawyer will prepare you for trial and fight for your rights every step of the way. Most car accident lawyers also work on contingency, which means they only charge a fee if they win you money.
Don’t Pay Unless We Win
You will never have to pay for any of your legal expenses unless we win compensation for your claim. If we can’t win compensation, you owe us nothing in return for our services. Our goal is to ensure that all of your serious injuries and damages get properly compensated for by the at-fault party and their insurance company.
Talk to Our Georgia Car Accident Lawyers Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have been helping car accident victims, including those who were victims of drunk driving, win the money they need for over 20 years, and we know what it takes to win cases where serious injuries are involved. Call us today for a free consultation or contact us online to get started today.