Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the leading cause of injury deaths and the second leading cause of hospitalizations and ER visits in Georgia. Georgia has the 4th highest number of traffic fatalities in the nation, even though Georgia has only the 8th largest population in the United States.
Approximately 400 people a year die in Georgia DUI accidents. Basically, about 30% of all auto fatalities in Georgia are DUI-related. Those who are injured in DUI wrecks in Georgia have a right to recover all actual damages as well as punitive damages. Punitive damages are damages assessed to punish the defendant for outrageous conduct, such as driving under the influence and to deter the defendant and others from engaging in similar conduct.
At Brian Hobbs Law, we can help identify every potential defendant, so that all culpable parties are held accountable.
Below are some answers to common questions about drunk driving wrecks. You can also call us or use the live chat box below to request a free consultation. Our office is located in Marietta, GA, but we handle drunk driving accident cases across metro Atlanta and Georgia.
- I was in a car wreck with an uninsured drunk driver, what should I do?
- What is the average settlement for being hit by a drunk driver?
- I got hit by a drunk driver. Who can be responsible in Georgia?
- What is considered driving under the influence in Georgia?
- How can a personal injury lawyer help me after being hit by a drunk driver?
I Was in a Car Wreck With an Uninsured Drunk Driver, What Should I Do?
If you were in an accident with an uninsured drunk driver, fortunately, you have a couple of options. First of all, you may have uninsured motorist coverage, which protects you from anyone that may be driving without insurance. If you were hit by an uninsured driver, you should file an uninsured coverage claim with your own auto insurance provider.
Furthermore, if there are multiple cars in your household that are covered on your insurance policy, you can “stack” your insurance policies. For example, if you have two insured cars at your home, and each has a $25,000 uninsured policy, then you can stack them to receive $50,000 in coverage.
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What Is the Average Settlement for Being Hit by a Drunk Driver?
As with all personal injury cases, there’s no exact formula to determine how much compensation you should receive after being hit by a Georgia drunk driver. However, like other car wreck cases, there are some factors you can look at to help determine what a fair settlement should be if you were in a wreck with a drunk driver in Georgia.
- Severity of injury. If you were injured in a DUI accident, the severity of your injuries will play a major role in determining what your settlement should be. You have to determine what’s known as your “lost enjoyment of life.” It’s a way of quantifying how your enjoyment of life has been diminished by the effects of the accident. Typical questions you want to ask yourself are: How has the injury affected your daily life? Are you still able to do the same activities you enjoyed doing prior to your accident? The answers to these questions help determine the value of your “lost enjoyment of life,” which needs to be considered when determining how much our DUI accident case is worth.
- Medical bills. Georgia law requires that the at-fault driver must compensate you for your fixed losses such as medical bills and future medical expenses. The law recognizes that you certainly didn’t choose to get hit by a drunk driver, so you should not be stuck with the financial burden of paying for the medical treatment you need as a result of the crash and the at-fault driver’s negligence.
- Lost wages. Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents often cause serious injuries that require weeks or even months of doctor visits, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and follow-up visits to monitor your recovery. Oftentimes, at the beginning of your recovery, you may be unable to work for a period of time as you heal. Georgia law requires the at-fault driver’s insurance company to compensate you for any and all lost wages lost due to the car crash.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages are allowed when you are able to prove the at-fault driver was grossly negligent in causing your injury. The severity of your injuries, the blood alcohol level of the at-fault driver, and any previous DUI convictions are all to be considered when a judge determines whether punitive damages should be allowed.
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I Got Hit by a Drunk Driver in Georgia. Who Can Be Held Responsible?
Under Georgia’s dram shop laws, responsibility for a drunk driving accident falls on the person who chose to drive drunk. But it doesn’t stop there. Responsibility also falls on the bar, restaurant, or other businesses that over-serve customers and allow them to drive. They also can be held liable for the devastation caused by a drunk driving wreck. For example, if a person goes to a bar and is served eight beers and then hits and injures a family of three on his way home, the driver and the bar (and its insurance company) may be responsible for compensating the family for their losses.
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What Is Considered Driving Under the Influence in Georgia?
In Georgia, driving under the influence is defined as operating a vehicle while under the influence of:
- Prescription painkillers
It is illegal to drive in Georgia if your blood alcohol concentration (known as “BAC”) is 0.08 percent or higher. The law, however, treats drivers under 21 years of age and commercial truck drivers differently. If you’re under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive if your BAC is 0.02 percent or higher. If you’re a commercial truck driver, it is illegal to drive if your BAC is 0.04 percent or higher.
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How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me After Being Hit by a Drunk Driver?
Having the right personal injury lawyer on your side will allow you to focus on what’s most important … your recovery. Doctor’s appointments, follow-up appointments, MRI’s, physical therapy, occupational therapy--it’s very likely that some if not all of these types of appointments will be part of your healing process. With all of us leading busy lives, it’s hard enough to fit these extra appointments into your schedule let alone having to deal with hostile insurance companies, securing evidence, finding witnesses and preserving witness statements, securing evidence, finding all potential defendants and insurance policies, finding expert witnesses, securing medical records, dealing with billing departments and bill collectors, and negotiating with healthcare providers to reduce your medical bills.
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Talk With Our Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys Today
At Brian Hobbs Law, we work on life-changing injury and wrongful death cases on a regular basis. We treat our clients like family, and our top priorities are protecting their legal rights, allowing them to focus on their recovery so they can get back to their lives, and holding the at-fault parties accountable. For us, that means not backing down against stubborn insurance adjusters, locating witnesses and securing evidence, spending hours preparing your cases for trial, and most importantly, making sure our clients are informed every step of the way.
When innocent people are injured by the reckless and selfish actions of drunk drivers, we are here to help. To speak with one of our skilled drunk driving accident attorneys, call our Marietta, Georgia, office at (770) 727-2868 or complete our contact form. We have helped many people across Georgia who have found themselves in the same overwhelming circumstances that you may now be facing, and we would be honored to help you as well.