A Guide to DUI Involvement in Car Accidents
If you are injured in a car accident caused by an intoxicated driver in Atlanta, you have a good chance of obtaining compensation for your injuries if the driver was convicted of drunk driving.
A driver who gets behind the wheel intoxicated shows a disregard for the safety of everyone on the highway. To obtain the maximum compensation, you should work with an experienced car accident lawyer who will negotiate on your behalf and have a clear idea of the value of your claim. You will need to file an insurance claim with the drunk driver’s insurance company and in many instances a personal injury lawsuit if the insurance company is unwilling to offer a fair settlement.
Are You Suspicious that the Driver Who Hit You Was Drunk?
Did you see the driver driving erratically or weaving in a lane before an accident? Was the driver slumped over the wheel after the collision? You should be suspicious if you observed this kind of behavior before the crash or the driver acts intoxicated or out of control at the scene.
Police responding to a car accident typically do not witness the collision themselves. The driver often gets out of the vehicle so police must establish who was driving each vehicle when the crash occurred.
Police rely on statements of witnesses and others about how the accident occurred and who was driving. If you are suspicious that the driver who caused the accident was impaired, you should tell the investigating police officer what you observed.
The more specific, accurate details that you can provide, the more reliable the evidence may be.
How to Know the Other Driver Was Drunk
If police suspect a driver involved in an accident was impaired by alcohol or drugs, they will observe the appearance and behavior of the suspected drunk driver and question the driver about whether they have been drinking or doing drugs. They may ask the driver to perform a field sobriety test, a breath test and take statements from witnesses about what occurred.If the police have probable cause, they may place the suspected drunk driver under arrest and charge them with DUI. If the driver was injured and taken to the hospital, the police may await the results of a blood alcohol test before deciding whether to charge them with DUI.
Ask the police officer who investigates the accident how you can obtain a copy of the police accident report. The accident report may indicate whether the at-fault driver has been charged with DUI. The police accident report documents what occurred and is an important piece of evidence in any accident claim.
If the Other Driver Was Drunk, How Does It Change the Lawsuit?
If the driver who caused your accident was found to be driving under the influence, he or she will likely face criminal prosecution on the DUI charge. Unfortunately, a criminal prosecution will not provide any compensation to people harmed by the drunk driver. You will need to file a separate civil lawsuit against the drunk driver and the driver’s insurance company, seeking compensation for your personal injuries or a loved one’s wrongful death caused by the drunk driver.
The conviction of a drunk driver on criminal charges of DUI should make it easier to prove that the driver acted negligently. A driver who is convicted of violating Georgia law by driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher is generally considered to be negligent as a matter of law. The drunk driver violated the law and unreasonably disregarded the safety of others by driving drunk.
To obtain compensation, you will need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and in many instances file a separate civil lawsuit.
When people drink and drive and then cause crashes that harm others, they should be held accountable.
Is More Compensation Awarded to DUI Accident Victims?
An insurance company is well aware that if any lawsuit against the drunk driver who is their policyholder goes to trial, the jury will be more likely to be sympathetic to the individual or family who has been harmed by the drunk driver.
The insurance company who has insured a driver convicted of DUI will want to avoid going to trial so the company will be more likely to seek an out-of-court settlement. Often, the insurance company will make a quick, initial settlement offer after the accident to try to minimize their liability. These initial offers are typically for far less than the claim is actually worth. You should not accept an offer or sign anything presented by the at-fault driver’s insurance company without consulting a personal injury attorney and having the lawyer review the offer.
Why Should You Hire a DUI Accident Attorney?
You should hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you after an accident or if you have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident. A knowledgeable drunk driving or intoxicated driving injury accident lawyer will bring an informed perspective about your legal options based on the specific facts of the case. The lawyer will have a sense of what amount of money would represent a fair settlement based on your losses and the factors in the case.
The husband or wife of an individual killed in a drunk driving accident can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Georgia’s wrongful death law is complicated and contains several loopholes that an experienced attorney will know how to address.
The insurance company for the drunk driver will have lawyers who have experience working on their behalf. The insurance company lawyers are experienced negotiators and their goal will be to minimize the amount of money the insurance company pays out in claims. You will be at a decided disadvantage if you try to deal with them directly and are not represented by an experienced Atlanta accident attorney.
Contact The Millar Law Firm: Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers
The DUI car accident lawyers at The Millar Law Firm represent injured victims of drunk driving accidents in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. The Millar Law Firm does not charge for meeting with you and evaluating your accident claim. We’ll explain your legal options so you can decide how you should proceed. Contact Us to find out how we can help.
Not ready to chat? Use these free resources to help you get the information you need:
- Car Accident Lawyer Atlanta GA
- Atlanta Car Accident FAQs
- Georgia Car Accident Checklist
- Bad Faith Insurance Company in Atlanta, GA
- Distracted Driving in Georgia
- Types of Car Accidents in Atlanta, GA
- Why Call The Millar Law Firm?
- What Evidence Do I Need For A GA Car Accident?
For more information, the team at The Millar Firm are here to help. With years of experience helping victims of car accidents get the compensation they deserve, the team of attorneys at Millar Law can help you too. Call today!
Car Accident Resources: After a Georgia Collision
- Can You Get Blue Book Value For Your Car After a Car Accident?
- Should I call a Lawyer the Day of the Car Accident?
- What if there are conflicting stories after the car accident happened?
- When is the best time to sue after a car wreck in Georgia?
- Do I even have a car accident lawsuit?
- What if the person that hit me was drinking?
- How do I get money to pay my medical bills and car repair after an accident?
- How long does it take to get compensation after a car accident?
- How much should I expect to get compensation for my car accident lawsuit?
Can a person who drinks and drives,
sue the provider of the alcohol, if he
or she gets injured or killed
in a car accident?
Generally speaking, a person who consumes alcohol and later gets into a car accident may not sue the individual or company that provided the alcohol for their injuries. O.C.G.A. 51-1-40. In 2014 the Georgia Supreme Court examined the issue of whether the estate of an intoxicated person who was killed in an accident caused by their own drinking and driving could get around this prohibition, under a theory that the “estate” was not the consumer of alcohol. The Supreme Court found that because the claim would have been barred by 51-1-40 had he survived, the case must be dismissed.