Drunk driving has declined nationwide, but DUI accidents are still tragically common in Gainesville. Across Georgia, 3700 people died in just 10 years in drunk driving accidents, and one third of all car accident deaths involve someone driving under the influence. If you or someone you love has been hurt in an accident with a drunk driver, you should know that you have rights. State law allows you to recover money for all of your medical bills, losses and costs, plus substantial financial awards. You should talk to a Gainesville drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible.
Let John Foy & Associates help you. For the past 20 years, our firm has worked to make a difference in the lives of DUI victims. We always side with the victims, never the drunk driver or the insurance company. Our mission is to get the biggest possible financial recovery for accident victims, and help you put your life back together. Sit down with our experienced lawyers and get a free consultation to discuss your options. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
How does Gainesville define DUI?
The City of Gainesville follows state law and defines DUI as driving while impaired by any substance—whether it’s alcohol or something else. If the substance can affect your nervous system, your response time, or your control of your body, then it can affect your driving. The most common substances involved in DUI include:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Prescription medication
- Over the counter medication that causes drowsiness
- Marijuana, cocaine, crack, and other illegal drugs
In most cases, whether someone was driving under the influence or not will be determined by a chemical test. Breath tests and blood tests look for a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more—roughly what an adult has after two or more drinks. Blood and urine tests can also check for the presence of drugs in the driver’s system. But a driver can be convicted of DUI even if there was no test at all.
What should I do after being hit by a drunk driver in Gainesville?
The first thing to do after any accident is to get emergency medical care for anyone who is injured, including yourself. If you are able, however, we recommend taking basic steps at the accident scene to protect yourself legally and document what happened. These include:
- Call the police. Even if no one needs an ambulance, you should still call the police. Wait at the accident scene for officers to arrive and explain to them what happened. They can write an accident report which will provide an objective look at what happened. The accident report is essential to your claim.
- Tell the police you think the other driver is impaired. Even if you’re not sure, it’s better to tell police what you suspect and why. Officers are trained to look for signs of intoxication. They can also give the other driver a series of field sobriety tests or a Breathalyzer test. Ideally, the driver will be arrested for DUI on the spot.
- Video record your conversation. If you have any reason to suspect the other driver is intoxicated, pull out your cell phone and record the conversation. The camera will pick up any clear signs of impairment, such as poor balance, slurred speech or unnecessary aggression. The video will allow a jury to see firsthand what you saw, rather than relying on a he said/he said claim.
- Keep your eyes open. Impaired drivers often try to get rid of evidence after an accident. They may try to empty out bottles or cups, throw away drugs or take eye drops to cover up red, bloodshot eyes. You don’t have to intervene—just keep your camera read and record them doing it.
- Speak to witnesses. Any bystanders may have seen the accident itself, or may simply witness the intoxicated behavior of the other driver. Talk to the people at the scene and ask witnesses for their contact information.
Above all, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. DUI accident cases are complex and the insurance company will not offer you the full amount your claim is worth.
How much can I win in a claim against a DUI driver in Gainesville?
All accidents in Gainesville are subject to state law, which gives you the right to recover 100% of your costs and damages. This includes:
- Medical costs
- Wages lost due to missing work because of the accident
- Car repairs or replacing your car
- Large financial awards for pain, suffering disabilities and other serious losses
But these are the costs you can recover in any car accident. If the accident was caused by another driver’s DUI, you are entitled to substantially more. The court can award you “punitive damages,” which means extra money the drunk driver pays you as a form of punishment. This money is supposed to help the victim put their life back together, and also helps send a strong message that drunk drivers will be held responsible for their actions.
Punitive damages mean that you may be entitled to far more money than you think. Many DUI accident claims are worth $100,000 or more.
What if I was in the car with the drunk driver?
You still have the same rights as any other victim of the accident. Ultimately, it was the driver’s bad decision that caused the accident, not yours. But in some cases the local courts may look at your claim differently. For example, if you knew the driver was intoxicated, they may not be inclined to award you as much, or may not offer punitive damages. It’s best to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible and discuss the best approach to your case.
Speak to a Gainesville Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
We understand that a single accident can have lifelong consequences. That doesn’t mean you should have to pay for someone else’s bad decision. Let us give you a free consultation to discuss your case and help you get the full amount of money you deserve. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.