In most personal injury cases, a victim has just two years from the date of an injury to file a lawsuit. However, under a recent Georgia precedent, the two-year limitation period may not begin to run until the criminal charges, including a DUI or ticket, have been finalized, up to 6 years. O.C.G.A. 9-3-99.
This means that you may actually have more than two years to file your lawsuit., even if the at-fault driver simply received a traffic ticket. However, you must be careful. If you do not calculate the time period correctly, you could lose your rights. You should always contact a personal injury attorney well within two years of any accident in which you have been injured.
In a DUI case, you may be able to file a lawsuit and assert punitive damages in addition to your compensatory damages. In the state of Georgia, punitive damages are awarded to punish and deter “willful misconduct, wantonness and entire want of care.”
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol clearly fits into this category. Few acts, in fact, can be more reckless. The guilty plea in this case would be especially helpful.
Generally, punitive damages in Georgia are capped at $250,000. However, because impaired driving is so especially egregious, it falls under one of the exceptions to this rule. There is no limit on the amount of punitive damages for these cases.
Please see our page on Drunk Driving Accidents to learn more about these cases.