One of the most common causes of auto accidents is impaired drivers. When a person consumes alcohol or drugs and gets behind the wheel of a car they put themselves and every other person on the road at risk. Alcohol and drugs cause a person to experience a lapse in judgment, and in severe cases, loss of proper reaction time and motor skills. Operating a vehicle requires all of these things working in tandem. In a study run by the CDC, between the years of 2003 to 2012, there were close to 3,700 deaths on the road involving a drunk driver. On average it was reported that 1.4% of drivers have disclosed and admitted to driving after drinking “too much.”
DUI Injury Cases in Georgia
Accidents due to impaired drivers are often exceptionally destructive. Impaired driving is likely to have an individual traveling at high speeds without very much regard or attention to their surroundings. A collision with another vehicle in this state can be catastrophic. A person who is injured in an impaired driving accident may experience some of the following:
- Serious Injuries: Things like broken limbs, sprains, whiplash, or bruising.
- Traumatic Injuries: A type of injury that places a person in danger of death, such as a brain injury or injury to internal organs.
- Permanent or Debilitating Injuries: Such as a spine injury, paralysis, brain injury or vegetative state.
- Death: Unfortunately, drunk driving has a higher probability of causing anyone involved in the crash to lose their life.
When a person is injured in an accident involving an impaired driver, they may be able to file a lawsuit against the person responsible. Drunk driving lawsuits involve claims of personal injury or wrongful death, depending on what happened in the accident. In accident cases involving impaired drivers a plaintiff may be able to recover some of the following damages from a defendant:
- Medical Bills: The most common claim in any injury case is a claim for medical bills. Due to the severity and impact of drunk driving accidents, a person’s medical bills are likely to be very high. This is often one of the main purposes of a person’s injury claim.
- Funeral Costs: The grim reality of impaired driving accidents is that they can cause the death of anyone caught in the impact. Funerals are by no means inexpensive affairs, and no one wants to deal with the pain of their loss and the finances of the burial at the same time. If a person’s life is lost in an accident, they may claim damages for funeral costs.
- Loss of Property/Property Damage: Drunk driving accidents are more often than not incredibly destructive events. A person can have their vehicle severely damaged, or declared a total loss. A person may claim property damage costs to repair the vehicle, or a loss of property claim to replace the vehicle in the event of complete destruction.
- Loss of Income: If an impaired driving accident is severe enough to require a person to stay home from work in the hospital, or worse if the accident claims a person’s life, damages for loss of potential or missed income may be claimed.
- Non-economic Damages: There are also a number of damages that cannot be measured in strict, precise financial amounts. These are often referred to as non-economic damages and come in the form of things such as pain and suffering, including emotional or mental suffering.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are damage awards assigned by the court to serve as a form of punishment for the defendant’s actions. These are sometimes sought in cases involving criminal conduct and are often sought in an impaired driving case.
Liability and Criminal Justice for Impaired Drivers in Georgia
In addition to being an incredibly irresponsible act, drunk driving is a crime in all 50 states and Washington D.C. In Georgia, it’s illegal for drivers to operate a motor vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentages are the following: .08% or higher for adults 21 years or older, .04% or higher if operating a commercial vehicle, and .02% or higher if under the age of 21. There are varying degrees of criminal punishments that depend both on the situation at hand, and if the driver has had any prior offenses.
Can I Name A Defendant in my Case Who is Facing Criminal Charges?
Because impaired driving is a crime, a person who is charged with this crime will already be named a defendant by the state at the criminal level. However, this does not prevent them from being named as a defendant in any civil matters. This means that although a person is facing criminal charges, they may also be named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit to hold them liable for the accident, in addition to possibly being criminally guilty. Defendants may be facing both at once, however, just because a defendant is not criminally guilty does not mean they cannot be held liable for the same act.
There may also be other defendants to include in a lawsuit involving drunk driving as well. These may include an employer of the intoxicated person, or perhaps the parent of an intoxicated person who allowed a child to use a vehicle while impaired. Each case must be analyzed separately to make sure all defendants are included.
Contact a Macon, Georgia Auto Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving an impaired driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering. Contact the legal professionals at the Gautreaux Law for a free, one-on-one consultation to find out what your case is worth. We charge our clients nothing unless we win.