Despite facing severe legal penalties, far-reaching and long-lasting consequences, and the risk of serious injuries and death, a section of drivers in Georgia still choose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Drunk drivers are not only a threat to their own safety and wellbeing but also to the lives of innocent civilians unfortunate enough to be in their path. What makes drunk driving accidents particularly painful and regretful is the fact that the destruction and loss of lives caused are completely avoidable.
If you’ve suffered a severe injury or lost a loved one as a result of a drunk driving accident, you have the right to seek justice and compensation for your losses. Our Smyrna drunk driving accident lawyer at Jamie Ballard Law is prepared to offer you all the necessary legal assistance in your car accident case. Call us today at 571-331-2381 and let us help you get the justice that you and your family deserve.
Drunk Driving Statistics in Georgia
According to the most recent data from the NHTSA, of the 1,491 traffic fatalities reported in the state of Georgia in 2019, 353 fatalities (24%) involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher. While this was a drop from the previous year, it is still a significant number nonetheless.
1.6% of adults in Georgia admitted to driving after excessive drinking within the past 30 days. What this means is that the number of people drinking and driving is likely to be significantly higher and so is the risk of being involved in a drunk driving accident.
Across the country, more than 800 people are injured while almost 30 people are killed every day in drunk driving incidents.
What Are the BAC Limits in Georgia?
In the state of Georgia, it is illegal for any driver above the age of 21 to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .08%. Drivers below the age of 21 years are subject to a zero-tolerance law that puts their legal BAC limit at .02%.
Commercial drivers are not allowed to operate heavy vehicles with a BAC above .04%. It is important to note that the state of Georgia considers drunk driving a serious criminal offense, especially for repeat offenders.
What to Do After An Accident With a Drunk Driver?
There are some important steps you need to take after an accident involving a drunk driver in order to protect your legal rights and wellbeing.
Contact the Police
It is crucial that you call law enforcement especially after being involved in a drunk driving incident. Remember, drunk driving is a criminal offense and the at-fault driver may try to persuade you not to call the police. For your best interests, ensure that you call the police immediately. Besides filing an official accident report, the police will also help you deal with the drunk driver in case they are uncooperative in providing their relevant information.
Assess Your Surroundings
As you wait for the first responders, check to ensure that your immediate surroundings are safe from any further danger and also check on others involved in the accident rendering help where needed.
Record the Scene
This part is very important, especially if you are planning on taking legal action. Take as many photos and videos of the scene of the accident as possible. Ensure to record images of your visible injuries, damages inflicted on the vehicles involves, and alcohol bottles (if present in the other driver’s car). Also, note down any important details that may aid your case.
Also, remember to talk to any witnesses present at the scene and collect their names and contact details. This will help make things much easier later on when filing your claim.
Seek Medical Attention
It is common for people to feel completely fine after suffering injuries in an accident, particularly due to the adrenaline rush experienced during the impact. This is why it is crucial that you go for a full medical examination to ensure that you haven’t suffered any serious hidden injuries. Seeking medical treatment will also help to document your injuries and support your claims.
Get in Touch With an Attorney
Getting compensation for injuries and damages caused as a result of a drunk driving accident won’t be easy, especially if you choose to go about alone. Besides dealing with your injuries, you will be faced with the arduous task of putting together evidence to support your claims and also dealing with the insurance company.
An attorney will advise on your case, ensuring that everything is done correctly and also handle the bulk of the process while you focus on your recovery. They will ensure that you are not taken advantage of and will fight for you to ensure maximum compensation.
What Damages Can You Recover After a Drunk Driving Accident in Georgia?
Georgia State Law provides for certain damages in the event of a drunk driving accident. Basically, these damages are grouped into three categories:
A drunk driving accident victim in Georgia is entitled to compensation for financial losses incurred as a result of the accident and subsequent injuries. These include past and future medical bills, lost income, loss of earning capacity, home and car modifications, in-home care, travel costs, and so on.
These types of damages are designed to compensate the victim for subjective and non-monetary losses endured following their injuries. These can include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, loss of limbs and limb function, etc.
In the state of Georgia, juries have the mandate to impose punitive damages against drunk drivers who cause harm to others. Drunk driving is often considered gross negligence. By getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, the accused party shows extreme disregard of care for the safety of others despite knowing the risks their actions pose.
While the state of Georgia has put a cap on punitive damages at $250,000, this limit doesn’t apply to drunk driving cases.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in Georgia?
Georgia’s statute of limitations stipulates that victims of personal injury have up to two years from the date of the injury to file a claim in a court of law. However, in the case of a drunk driving accident, there is a slight adjustment due to the fact that the at-fault party is also subject to criminal charges. The clock on the two-year time limit starts once the defendant’s prosecution ends or after six years have passed. For property damage claims, you have up to four years from the date of the accident to file a claim.
While all this might seem like a long time, it is always recommended that you take action as soon as possible for the best outcome. Call 571-331-2381 today to schedule a free consultation with a Smyrna drunk driving accident lawyer.
How Much Will an Attorney Cost?
At Jamie Ballard Law, we understand your situation and what you might be going through. Our top priority is to ensure that you get the justice that you deserve regardless of your financial situation.
This is why to help ease your burden, we offer our services on a contingency or “no win no fee” basis. Under this arrangement, you only pay us under the condition that we win your case. Thus, no upfront fees or financial risks! If we do win your case, our payment will be a certain agreed-upon percentage from your compensation amount.
Call a Smyrna Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today!
Drunk drivers often leave a trail of injury, death, and destruction in their wake. Despite understanding the risks they pose to others, they still choose to make the poor and fateful decision to drive in their current state of mind. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driving accident, it is not fair that you bear the burden of someone else’s poor decisions alone. The at-fault driver needs to be held fully accountable for their actions.