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Failure to Celebrate the Season Responsibly Costs Drunk Driver $2.4 Million

Published February 27, 2018 by Bruce Millar

The season for holiday parties and celebrations is approaching. We all must exercise extra caution as we take in the festivities at this time of year.

A Fulton County couple was badly injured when their car was hit head-on by a drunk driver. The woman driving the oncoming car was an employee who had been drinking at an Industry-sponsored holiday party. She attended the party at the behest of her employer. On her way home from the party the inebriated woman driver became disoriented by the effects of alcohol and drover her vehicle into the plaintiffs’ lane of travel.

The plaintiff husband, 52 years of age, was more severely injured than was his wife. He sustained a closed head injury, a knee fracture, a fracture of his left arm and fractures of several bones of his left foot. His multiple injuries required him to undergo six separate surgeries to repair these injuries. The surgeries included the insertion and removal of various rods and pins used to stabilize the various fractures. Immediately following the accident, he was relegated to a wheelchair and remained immobilized for a substantial part of his recovery. His medical expenses were approximately $400,000. The wife sustained minor and less permanent injuries.

The insurance policy limits of the defendant/employee/driver were insufficient to cover the medical bills.

The plaintiffs filed a suit for damages claiming that the driver as well as her employer and the restaurant where the party was held were responsible for the accident.

The plaintiffs established that the drunk driver was acting within the scope of her employment when she attended this holiday party. When she was hired she was informed that she was to attend various industry-sponsored social functions in order to network with clients and potential clients. Further, when she arrived at the party she was given a name tag with her employer’s name on it and two free drink coupons to be used during the evening. The defendant/employee/driver admitted that she drank two glasses of wine at the party.

Shortly after the collision the woman’s blood alcohol level was found to be between .14 and .16. The plaintiff’s expert chemist, however, testified that her blood alcohol level was most likely .18 when she left the restaurant. This level of alcohol in her blood would have resulted in her being in an obviously impaired condition. This made it clear that the woman was under the influence to the extent that the restaurant employees should have recognized that she was drunk and understood that she would soon be driving and not served her, according to the Georgia Dram Shop statutes.

This suit was settled out of court for the sum of $2,375,000.

The law makes special provisions that can hold employers responsible when and if an employee, who is performing in the scope of his/her work, acts negligently and causes injury to others. In cases such as this one, the employer’s insurance coverage can be extended to augment the limited coverage that was owned by the defendant driver.

If you have been involved in an accident and suffered damages above and beyond the insurance coverage of the other driver involved, it doesn’t mean that you have no hope of recovering. A trained, experienced attorney could discover that there are other means to collect. Call the legal team at The Millar Law Firm today to learn if your injuries may be recoverable.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The above article is a factually-accurate case history of an actual previously litigated or settled Georgia case. The case was reported on in local media and/or legal reporting services and it was not handled by The Millar Law Firm. However, we think our current and prospective clients may find this information interesting and informative as the case is factually similar to cases our office routinely handles. Please be advised that the Millar Law Firm makes no guarantees your case will have a similar outcome, as past results of our firm or of other lawyers and law firms are not guarantees of future performance.

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