Drunk driving accidents are among the most tragic and preventable car accidents in the Macon area. While drunk driving generally has been on the decline, it’s still the cause of a third of all car accident deaths. In Georgia alone, 3700 people lost their lives over a 10 year period because of drunk drivers. But if you have been in an accident with someone who was driving drunk, you have a right to recover your medical bills and other costs, plus additional large financial awards. You should contact a Macon drunk driving accident attorney right away.
John Foy & Associates has the skill and experience you’re looking for. We’ve been helping victims of accidents get the financial recovery they’re entitled to for more than 20 years. In that time, we’ve handled many DUI cases and we always take the side of the victim, never the drunk driver or the insurance company. Our only goal is to get you the money you deserve. Let our experienced lawyers give you a free, no-obligation consultation to review your case and explain your rights. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What is considered a DUI in Macon?
In Macon-Bibb County and throughout Georgia, “DUI” means driving while impaired by any substance, not just alcohol. Basically, any substance that can affect your nervous system, your reaction time, or your ability to control yourself can be the basis for a DUI. The most common substances involved in DUI claims are:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Prescription drugs
- Over the counter drugs that lead to drowsiness
- Illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin
Law enforcement officers will usually administer a chemical test to determine whether a driver is under the influence. A person is legally under the influence of alcohol if their blood alcohol content is .08% or more, as determined by a breath or blood test. Just two drinks can put someone over the legal limit. Officers may also administer blood or urine tests to see if a driver has drugs in his or her system. But contrary to popular belief, a test is not required to convict a person of driving under the influence.
I’ve been hit by a drunk driver in Macon. What should I do next?
After any accident, the most important thing is to get emergency medical treatment for yourself and anyone else who was hurt. If your injuries are not serious, we do also recommend taking some simple steps to protect your rights. We suggest that you:
- Involve the police. An intoxicated driver won’t want you to call the police, but you should call them anyway. The police will interview drivers and witnesses, look at the damage, and write a report documenting what happened. The accident report is a critical piece of evidence that will support your claim.
- If you think the other driver is impaired, tell the police. Police officers are trained to assess drivers for intoxication and administer field sobriety and Breathalyzer tests. If you suspect the other driver was drunk, tell the officer and explain why you came to that conclusion, even if you’re not sure you’re right. It will help your claim if the officer arrests the other driver at the scene.
- Record conversations with the other driver. Use your cell phone to record a video of your conversations with the impaired driver. The video will capture telltale signs like unsteadiness, slurred speech or aggressive behavior. A video from the scene can be powerful evidence if your case ever goes to trial.
- Watch the other driver. An impaired driver may try to destroy evidence before the police arrive. If you see the other driver hiding things, using eye drops or pouring out containers of liquid, capture it with your phone’s video camera.
- Talk with witnesses. Find out if bystanders saw the accident or the drunk driver’s erratic behavior leading up to the accident. Get their names and contact information.
And finally, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. DUI cases can be complicated and you can be sure that the other driver’s insurance company will not offer you nearly as much as your case is truly worth.
What kinds of damages can I get in a DUI case in Macon?
In Georgia, victims of automobile accidents are entitled to recover all their costs and damages. In a typical case, that might include:
- Medical bills
- Lost pay, if you missed time from work because of the accident
- Car repairs or replacement
- Large financial awards for disabilities, wrongful death or pain
DUI cases are a little different than most auto accident cases, however, because DUI accident victims may be eligible for even more money. A judge may award you “punitive damages” to punish the drunk driver. Punitive damages give you additional funds to rebuild your life, and they also send a strong message to the public that drunk drivers will not be tolerated.
In some cases, punitive damages far exceed your costs. Many DUI claims are worth more than $100,000.
What if I was riding with the drunk driver?
If you were injured, you have the same rights as any other accident victim. The driver chose to operate a vehicle while impaired, and it is the driver—not you—who must pay for that decision. However, in some cases the local courts may see you as less deserving than other accident victims. For instance, if you knew the driver was drunk when you got in the car, a judge may not want to award you as much money, or may not want to give you punitive damages. We recommend that you get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible so you can discuss the right strategy.
Talk to a Macon Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Free
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve seen how a drunk driver can change a life forever. We don’t want you to have to pay for someone else’s poor choices. Let us give you a free consultation and start you on the road to getting the money you’re entitled to. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.