Hit by a Drunk Driver in Atlanta? Call The Champion Firm.
Roughly 300 people are killed annually in Atlanta due to drunk driving accidents, and many more are injured.
If you are in a drunk driving accident, you will likely wonder where to turn next. Should you sue the drunk driver? What damages are the drunk driver and their insurance company responsible for paying? What about the bar or restaurant that served alcohol to the drunk driver—can it be held accountable? These are all questions that should be answered in a consultation with an Atlanta car accident attorney.
At The Champion Firm, our experienced attorneys will explain all your legal options, identify those responsible, and pursue every source of compensation. Call 404-596-8044 for a free, no-risk consultation.
Why Choose Our Atlanta DUI Accident Lawyers?
Our skill and assertive advocacy can often be the difference in recovering full and fair compensation, not to mention justice for injuries related to a drunk driving accident.
The Champion Firm Difference:
- Over $100 Million in Settlements and Verdicts.
- No Pressure to Settle. We’ll Bring Your Case to Court if It’s the Best Move.
- The Champion Firm Provides Prompt Updates and is Always Available.
What To Do After an Accident with a Drunk Driver?
If you or a loved one are involved in an accident with a drunk driver in Atlanta, you’re likely scared and frustrated. But the court system, insurance claim process, and GA personal injury laws do provide you with options. Generally, here are the steps you should take after an accident with an intoxicated driver:
- Ensure Your Safety: Move to a safe location away from traffic, if possible, and turn on hazard lights.
- Call Emergency Services: Dial the emergency number (e.g., 911) to report the accident. Inform them about the drunk driving incident so appropriate assistance can be dispatched.
- Gather Info: Collect important details about the accident, including the drunk driver’s name, contact information, license plate number, insurance details, and any other relevant information. Also, gather contact information from witnesses present at the scene.
- Document the Scene: Take photos or videos of the accident scene, the damage to vehicles, and any visible injuries. This documentation can serve as evidence later.
- Avoid Confrontation: Refrain from arguing or engaging in confrontations with the drunk driver or anyone else involved. Stay calm and cooperative while interacting with the police and other parties.
- Cooperate with Police: When the police arrive, provide them with accurate information about the incident. Describe what happened to the best of your knowledge and mention any observations regarding the other driver’s behavior or signs of intoxication.
- Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don’t feel injured immediately, it’s crucial to get a medical evaluation. Some injuries may not manifest immediately; medical documentation can be important for insurance claims or legal proceedings.
- Notify Your Insurance: Report the accident to your insurance provider, providing them with all the relevant details. They will guide you through the claims process and may assist in pursuing compensation from the drunk driver or their insurance company.
- Consult an Attorney: Consider consulting with a personal injury attorney experienced in drunk driving accidents. They can help protect your rights, guide you through legal proceedings, and assist in pursuing appropriate compensation.
- Preserve Evidence: Keep copies of all documentation related to the accident, including medical records, insurance correspondence, and any communication with the drunk driver or their insurance company.
Each accident is unique, so it’s essential to consult with legal professionals who can provide tailored advice based on the specific circumstances of your case.
Common DUI Accident Injuries
Motor vehicle accidents in Metro Atlanta involving drunk drivers are too common and can cause a wide range of injuries, from bruises and cuts to severe, life-altering injuries. Here are some of the most common injuries we see in drunk-driving collisions:
- Back & Spinal Injuries
- Concussions & TBI
- Broken Bones
- Internal Injuries
- Cuts & Lacerations
- Facial injuries
- Knee/Joint Injuries
- Shoulder Injuries
- Wrongful Death
How to Prove a Drunk Driver Caused a Crash
You must show that another party’s negligence caused your injuries to recover the maximum compensation after a drunk driving accident. This means demonstrating they were negligent by driving while intoxicated, and that resulted in the accident that caused your injuries or loss.
Four elements need to be met to prove negligence in a Georgia drunk driving claim:
- Duty of care – All drivers have a duty of care for other drivers.
- Breach of duty – The impaired driver breached their duty by driving drunk
- Causation – The impaired driver’s actions directly or indirectly caused your injuries.
- Damages – The accident resulted in economic and non-economic losses.
Legal Options for Drunk Driving Victims
Once it’s established that an impaired driver caused your accident and subsequent injuries, you’ll need to decide how to proceed to recover from your injured and financial losses.
Navigating the legal system and insurance process after a drunk driving accident can be overwhelming, so having a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer is crucial. An attorney can provide invaluable support, guidance, and representation throughout the legal process, ensuring your rights are protected and your voice is heard.
Depending on the circumstances involved, you may want to explore the following if you or a loved one are hurt or killed by a drunk driver in Atlanta:
- File an Insurance Claim: The injured party can file a claim with their own insurance company to seek compensation for medical expenses, property damage, and other losses covered under their policy.
- Personal Injury Lawsuit: If the injuries are severe or the insurance coverage is insufficient, the injured party may file a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver. This allows them to pursue compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, wrongful death, and other damages caused by the accident.
- Criminal Charges: In cases involving drunk driving, the state may bring criminal charges against the responsible driver. The injured party can participate as a witness in criminal proceedings, which may result in penalties such as fines, license suspension, probation, or even imprisonment for the drunk driver. Remember that criminal proceedings are separate from a civil case, but a DUI conviction would be compelling evidence in a drunk driving lawsuit or wrongful death claim.
- A Dram Shop Lawsuit: Georgia “dram shop” laws hold establishments, such as bars or restaurants, liable for over-serving visibly intoxicated individuals who later cause accidents. The injured party may pursue a lawsuit against the establishment if it can be proven that they served alcohol to the drunk driver who caused the accident.
Damages Available in Atlanta Drunk Driving Accidents
In any personal injury case, the person who caused harm is responsible for paying your damages. Car accidents, in general, and drunk driving accidents, in particular, are no different.
Damages are typically divided into two broad categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages include damages capable of financial measurements, such as medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, permanent disfigurement, and diminished capacity to labor.
Your compensation after a drunk driving accident may include:
- Medical expenses and equipment
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
- Mental anguish
- Reputational damage
- Property damages
- Lost income via missed work
- Loss of companionship and love
- Loss of household services
The best way to evaluate your case and financial recovery is to speak with a drunk driving accident lawyer in Atlanta. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consult.
Punitive Damages for Drunk Driving Accidents
In addition to these damages, you may be entitled to punitive damages following an Atlanta DUI accident. Unlike other damages designed to compensate an injured person, punitive damages are designed to punish and deter the wrongdoer.
Under Georgia law, punitive damages are available if “proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequence.”
While many ordinary negligence cases do not justify a punitive damages award, DUI accidents are different. In many DUI cases, an experienced personal injury attorney can prove that the driver should be punished and that punitive damages are appropriate.
Atlanta Drunk Driving Accident FAQs
We understand that you may have questions about the drunk driving accident claims process. Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your specific concerns.
Will Insurance Cover a Drunk Driving Accident?
Is the drunk driver’s insurance company responsible for paying punitive damages? In Atlanta, insurance policies are usually presumed to cover punitive damages unless there is an apparent exclusion that says punitive damages are excluded under the policy.
The drunk driver’s insurance company may be liable for punitive damages. Naturally, this increases the value of a DUI accident case. However, uninsured motorist policies do not cover punitive damages. In other words, while the drunk driver’s insurance may be on the hook for punitive damages, you cannot collect punitive damages from your own uninsured motorist coverage.
Even in cases where the drunk driver’s insurance policy excludes punitive damages, the cases are typically worth more. This is because of the aggravated nature of the DUI driver’s conduct. Juries comprise regular people, and no rational person likes drunk drivers. They are a danger to the community. When faced with a drunk driving accident, juries usually give more money.
How Much is an Atlanta DUI Accident Worth?
As with any personal injury case, one of the main driving forces behind the value of a DUI case is the amount of the damages. This starts with analyzing the nature and severity of your injuries, the amount of your medical expenses, and your lost wages. For punitive damages, the egregiousness of the drunk driver’s conduct is directly tied to the value of these damages. The more grievous the misconduct, the higher the punitive damages claim can be.
In addition to damages, another question that needs to be answered is the ability of the wrongdoer to pay for your damages, whether it be through insurance or their financial assets. In cases with little to no liability insurance, you may be entitled to coverage under your uninsured motorist policy. As a result, the value of your damages is just one component of the overall value of your case because you could have highly high damages but little or no available insurance or assets to pay for those damages.
How Long Do You Have to File Your Accident Claim?
The statute of limitations for drunk driving accident claims and lawsuits in Georgia is two years. If you’re filing a property damage claim, the statute of limitations is four years.
If you do not file your claim before the deadline, your case will likely be dismissed. These time limits can be complex, so get an experienced attorney working to protect your drunk driving accident settlement.
Speak To a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Atlanta Today
If you have been injured in a DUI accident in Atlanta, you should speak with a drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Atlanta personal injury attorneys at The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C., have experience representing DUI victims. Call The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C., at 404-596-8044 for a free consultation with an Atlanta personal injury lawyer.