According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 29 people killed every day in the United States because of a drunk driver. That is one person almost every 50 minutes. Drunk driving also costs drivers, other people involved in accidents, and property owners billions of dollars in damages every year. It is no secret that people shouldn’t drive drunk, but impaired individuals get behind the wheel every day—and often cause accidents when they do. If you or a loved one is a victim of a drunk driving crash in Stone Mountain, get legal help immediately. You need to speak with a Stone Mountain drunk driving accident lawyer in to explore your legal options.
Drunk driving accidents can be absolutely devastating. These crashes are often severe because the impaired driver does not react to dangerous situations in the same way that a sober driver would. They’re often high-speed crashes as well—resulting in totaled cars, serious long-term injuries, and even death.
John Foy & Associates knows the significant impact that a drunk driver can have on you and your family. We know because we have seen this tragic fact pattern over and over again in Stone Mountain and around Georgia in over two decades of experience helping victims. If you or a loved one has experienced a crash with a drunk driver, you need an attorney who recognizes what you are going through. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
How does it affect my legal claim if the driver was drunk?
Every driver on the road in the City of Stone Mountain has a duty to other drivers, pedestrians, and even nearby property owners. That duty is to drive safely, which means they should act in the same way that a reasonable driver in the same conditions would act. Under Georgia law, and in every other state in the U.S., it is never reasonable to get behind the wheel while you are impaired. That means that a drunk driver automatically violates their duty to everyone around them simply by operating their vehicle while intoxicated.
The violation of this duty is often referred to as “fault” or “negligence” in the legal context. As part of your car accident case, you must prove that the other driver was negligent or at fault for the accident to recover money damages. In drunk driving cases, showing fault is straightforward because you merely have to prove that the driver was drunk at the time of the accident and that their impairment caused the crash.
Alcohol affects a driver’s ability to do a lot of things that are absolutely vital to driving, including:
- Hand and eye coordination
- Good judgment
- Reaction time
When these skills are lacking, an accident is much more likely to occur. That also means that if any one of these items contributed to the crash, the driver’s impairment is at least partially to blame.
When should I stay off the road if I want to avoid a drunk driver?
Impaired drivers are on the road at all times. Avoiding them is difficult. But, if you can limit driving during specific times, you may be able to reduce the likelihood that you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver.
- Alcohol-related crashes that cause fatalities are over three times more likely to occur at night.
- Drunk driving crashes are more likely to happen on the weekends, but 14% of fatal crashes occurred during the week according to a study done in 2016.
- Drunk driving crashes occur more frequently around holidays, such as Independence Day, Christmas, and Labor Day weekend.
Keep an eye out for impaired drivers by watching for signs of drifting, swerving, or failing to maintain a consistent speed. If possible, stay far away from drivers who seem like they might be impaired. If you’re very concerned, you can call law enforcement and report their plate number and location. Getting an impaired driver off the road before they cause an accident could save someone’s life.
Is my personal injury claim tied in with the drunk driver’s criminal case?
Drunk drivers face two major consequences when they drive drunk and cause an accident: criminal and civil (lawsuits). Criminal penalties can involve fines, jail time, and long-term penalties like license suspension. In contrast, civil damages are about the victim: they reimburse the victim for their medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain they have suffered.
These two types of legal cases can affect one another, but you don’t have to have one to have the other. In fact, you can potentially win your claim against the drunk driver even if they are never convicted of DUI at all.
Sometimes the results of a criminal case will affect your civil lawsuit, but not always. Criminal courts use a higher standard of proof than our local civil courts. This is good for your case. It helps you because, if a driver was convicted of drunk driving in criminal court, you could use that conviction against them in your lawsuit. The guilty verdict will help you prove that the other driver did, in fact, violate their duty to drive carefully. But, if the driver was not convicted, that doesn’t automatically mean your civil case is a lost cause. Because civil cases have a lower standard of proof, someone can be considered drunk for your personal injury case even when they were not convicted in a criminal court.
These differences can seem very technical, and sometimes you will need a lot of evidence to win your case. That’s why it’s so important to have a lawyer on your side.
Talk to a Stone Mountain Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
You don’t have to deal with this potentially tragic situation alone. John Foy & Associates can help—and we want to be here for you throughout this process. Don’t delay—there are time limits on both personal injury and wrongful death claims. Let us put our skill to work for you and your family. We will give you a FREE consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.