In Norcross and all of Georgia, drunk driving victims have the power to sue drivers in civil court. These lawsuits are in addition to criminal charges that the drunk driver faces—and you can win your case whether the drunk driver is convicted or not. Georgia has a zero-tolerance policy for DUI, and the residents of Norcross often have minimal sympathy for those who drink and drive. If you or your loved one were a victim in this type of situation, it’s a good idea to involve a Norcross drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
Unfortunately, hundreds of drunk driving accidents occur across Georgia every year—and Norcross has their fair share as well. John Foy & Associates has 20 years of experience dealing with drunk driving accidents. We use that experience to get victims the most money possible and start rebuilding their lives. You have legal options. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
Does the driver have to be convicted of drunk driving for my car accident claim to move forward?
No. Criminal and civil drunk driving cases overlap, but they are not the same. You don’t need one to move forward with the other. In fact, there are many situations where the driver gets charged criminally and must face a civil case too.
However, when a driver does get convicted it can be helpful for your case. That’s because criminal conviction requires a very high evidence standard. They use the term beyond a reasonable doubt for criminal cases. This high standard calls for virtual certainty that a defendant is guilty. Civil cases that involve car accidents use a standard called a “preponderance of the evidence.” This standard basically means more likely than not. It’s the lowest evidence standard available in Georgia. A jury only needs to be over 50% sure that the drunk driver caused the accident and related damages.
This difference has a big effect on your case. If the driver was convicted, it means that their DUI was already proven using much stronger evidence than you need for a lawsuit. It follows that the jury or the court can conclude that the driver was drunk in your own case, too. That makes it easier to win your drunk driving accident claim in court. It should also get an insurance company’s attention—and it often gets them to offer you a much better settlement.
How much does being drunk affect your driving abilities?
There is a reason that driving while drunk is illegal. Alcohol has the following side effects that will affect your ability to drive.
- Slowed Reaction Time. Alcohol decreases your ability to react quickly. As a driver, you must respond fast to lots of potentially dangerous situations. If a pedestrian walks in front of you or someone slams on their brakes, you may not be able to react swiftly enough to avoid an accident if you are drunk.
- Less Coordination. Alcohol affects your motor skills. You need eye, hand, and foot coordination to drive effectively. Because alcohol impairs those skills, your ability to drive effectively diminishes a great deal.
- Lower Concentration. It’s extremely dangerous to drive distracted. Taking your eyes on the road, even for just a few seconds, can result in a severe accident. Alcohol reduces your attention span, which can cause a crash.
- Decreased Vision. Higher levels of alcohol consumption can alter your vision. Drinking can blur your vision or hinder your eye movement control. Your ability to judge distances may be skewed as well.
- Poor Judgment. Your ability to make good decisions while driving decreases after consuming alcohol. Making the right choices is a vital part of avoiding accidents.
Alcohol can affect the ability to drive even if your blood alcohol content is below the legal limit. That means that whether a driver has any alcohol in their system at the time of the accident will be relevant for your car accident case.
For example, even with just a blood alcohol content of 0.02, drivers will experience:
- Lack of judgment
- Decreased visual functioning
- Lowered abilities to multi-task
- Increased relaxation (which means lower concentration and attention)
How do I prove that the driver was drunk at the time of the accident?
In many situations, a driver’s blood or breath will be tested after an accident. Some police officers will only do this if they suspect that alcohol played a part in the crash. But, other law enforcement agencies will ask the driver to undergo testing as part of their routine investigation.
Obtaining blood alcohol content test results is essential for the criminal case. That means that police will often making alcohol testing a priority. Because you want the driver to go through this testing, it’s especially important to call the police after a drunk driving accident.
If the driver didn’t have a test, you could testify about the other driver’s behaviors before and after the accident. Sometimes you can tell that the driver was drunk by how they drive or act after a crash.
It’s easier to show that a driver was drunk with a breathalyzer test or blood test, but it’s not required. Your case can still move forward successfully without that information.
Talk to a Norcross Drunk Driving Lawyer for Free
Drunk driving is a serious crime, and it ruins lives. If it has affected you or a loved one, you may be able to get money to help you recover for your losses. The insurance company may try to get you to settle early—don’t! Always talk to a lawyer before accepting any offer. The team at John Foy & Associates will be your ally and make sure the insurance company does not take advantage of your situation. Let us give you a FREE consultation and put our experienced lawyers on your side to help you fight for your rights. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.