What to Do If You’ve Been Hit by a Drunk Driver

This Georgia legal resource is provided by The Millar Law Firm, Georgia lawyers who specialize in helping the victims of drunk driving accidents.

Key Points:

  • After you have received medical attention, your next step should be to contact the police department and request a copy of the accident report.
  • To put together a strong case, you or a personal injury car accident lawyer may need to conduct an independent accident investigation.
  • Investigation of a drunk driver may involve conducting background checks of the at-fault driver, obtaining the prosecutor’s file, gathering all video evidence, and hiring a toxicologist or reconstruction expert.
  • DUI accident injury victims have two years to file a claim, but in some cases Georgia’s statute of limitations may be extended.

Immediate Steps to Take at the Scene of a DUI Accident:

  • Call 911 immediately for medical assistance and police intervention.
  • Safely move your vehicle off the road, if possible.
  • Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver(s).
  • If the other driver is too intoxicated to provide details, document or record this fact.
  • Capture photos and videos of the accident scene.
  • Collect contact information from any witnesses.

Actions to Take if You Suspect the Other Driver is Intoxicated (At the Accident Scene):

  • If seriously injured continue to focus on getting medical help
  • Work with Law Enforcement and have them check the vehicle for any drugs or alcohol
  • Request for feedback from Law Enforcement if they believe the driver is or was intoxicated
  • If Law Enforcement does not perform any DUI/DWI tests, consider encouraging them to test

Actions to Take Beyond the Accident Scene (If Injured):

  • Prioritize healing and recovery from the DUI accident
  • Seek out and hire an experienced DUI accident attorney
  • Collaborate with your attorney by sharing all relevant evidence and documents to strengthen your claim

Why It’s Important to Identify Intoxication of the At-fault Driver at the Accident Scene

Establishing the intoxication of the other driver immediately after an accident can significantly bolster your legal claim in several ways:

  1. Proving the other driver’s intoxication can make it harder for anyone to argue that you were at fault.
  2. If injuries were sustained, your settlement could increase due to the possibility of punitive damages. These damages are additional fines imposed to punish the driver for their reckless choices.
  3. The chances of securing a settlement may rise since insurance companies tend to avoid trials when it’s evident their client was under the influence.

Delaying this verification until much later can complicate matters, making your legal claim more challenging to pursue.

The Importance of Collaborating with Police to Confirm the Other Driver’s Intoxication

Police are pivotal at DUI accident scenes, as they gather crucial evidence that can clearly indicate a driver’s state of intoxication.

Body cam footage stands out as a valuable tool in these situations. A diligent DUI accident lawyer will prioritize obtaining this footage, which can visually capture the driver’s behavior and demeanor shortly after the incident. Properly conducted sobriety tests by the police are often recorded, whether on body cams or dashboard cameras, offering tangible evidence.

Moreover, if a driver is found intoxicated, the police will make an arrest since a DUI incident is a grave violation. Documents like the police report, the driver’s criminal record, and any issued traffic tickets collectively play a significant role in validating claims about the driver’s intoxicated state.

Do I “Really” Need to Hire A Lawyer Who Specializes in Drunk Driving Accidents?

If you or a loved one has been impacted by a drunk driver in Georgia, you might question the necessity of hiring a lawyer, given the apparent guilt of the drunk driver. However, DUI cases diverge from standard vehicular accidents. While the offending driver might face DUI charges and possibly have a defense attorney, it remains crucial for your civil case to prove the driver’s intoxication and unsafe behavior due to drugs or alcohol.

Collecting evidence becomes paramount; this includes 911 recordings, police recordings from body and patrol cameras, eyewitness testimonies, breathalyzer results, toxicology reports, and data about the driver’s prior DUI records. Although some of this information can be accessed via Georgia’s open records laws, pending charges against the driver might delay the release of crucial evidence, compelling you to undertake independent investigations.

Lastly, due to the recklessness associated with drunk driving, such cases often attract higher settlements. Yet, insurance companies might lowball offers unless confronted by an injury attorney adept at leveraging unique evidence to strengthen DUI accident claims.

Securing Your Future After a DUI Accident: The Role of an Experienced Attorney

Your future well-being and financial security largely depend on the legal actions you take after being injured by a drunk driver. While it’s possible to handle the case independently, a seasoned DUI accident lawyer can be invaluable. They can unearth evidence that might be challenging for you to find, including the at-fault driver’s criminal background, detailed toxicology reports, and insights from accident reconstruction experts. Additionally, they can collaborate with your medical team to substantiate the extent of your injuries.

Could you manage these tasks solo? Certainly. However, DUI cases carry significant weight, and the offending driver might have a history of DUI convictions. Such a background can open avenues for you to claim enhanced or supplementary damages.

Fascinating Facts about Georgia’s Drinking and Driving Problem

  1. DUI Arrests: In previous years, Georgia typically saw thousands of DUI arrests annually. The exact number fluctuated based on enforcement initiatives and other factors.
  2. Alcohol-Impaired Fatalities: In certain years, around one-fourth of all motor vehicle fatalities in Georgia were attributed to alcohol-impaired driving.
  3. Repeat Offenders: A significant percentage of DUI arrests in Georgia historically involved repeat offenders, emphasizing the recurrent nature of this problem.
  4. Underage DUI: While DUI rates for drivers under 21 have been decreasing nationwide due to strict enforcement and awareness campaigns, Georgia still reported underage DUI incidents.
  5. DUI Conviction Rate: Georgia’s DUI conviction rate had historically been under scrutiny, with concerns raised about the gap between the number of arrests and actual convictions.
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