If you have been harmed because of a DUI accident in Georgia, you could talk with a DUI accident injury lawyer. These professionals can help ensure you know your legal rights and how to bring an effective lawsuit or insurance claim. Dozier Law has substantial experience helping injury victims get the compensation they deserve. We are here when you need us. To get started, reach out to Dozier Law for a free consultation by calling (888) 239-2129 or contacting us online.
Drunk driving is a problem that can affect all of us. In 2020, there were over 12,000 DUI convictions in Georgia. When the DUI ends up in an accident, injuries can be severe. If a drunk driver injured you, you might be entitled to compensation.
If you are injured in a DUI-related accident, you may be able to receive monetary compensation for your injuries. You may be entitled to compensatory damages, along with punitive damages. Compensatory damages, under Georgia law, repay you for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In addition to compensatory damages, you may be entitled to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are to penalize the driver for acting recklessly.
Georgia’s Dram Shop Law
If you are a victim of a DUI accident, you may be able to sue more than just the driver. Under a law known as the Dram Shop Liability Law, you may be able to sue the establishment that sold the alcohol to the driver. The bar or restaurant that served the driver the alcohol can be held accountable for the drunk driving under certain conditions. These conditions include:
- They knew the patron was a minor under the drinking age of 21; or
- They continued to serve the patron alcohol after they were noticeably intoxicated; or
- They knew the minor or intoxicated person would be driving a motor vehicle.
This Dram Shop Law also includes a provision for “social host.” A social host can be a friend who had you over for a party and permitted you to drink too much alcohol, knowing that you were driving home.
The Dram Shop action can be included in a case against the drunk driver so that there is one case against both the driver and the bar or restaurant, or social host.
Statute Of Limitations
If a drunk driver injures you, you have two years from the accident to file your case in court. However, that period can be extended when Defendant is facing criminal prosecution. Once the criminal matter is concluded, the statute will begin to run again.
Evidence Of Prior DUIs
Since punitive damages can be awarded, evidence of other DUI convictions can be admitted into evidence to show the defendant’s reckless behavior. Courts have reasoned that a driver is reckless if they continue to drive drunk after injuring someone.
In most car accident cases, the at-fault driver’s driving record is not admissible and cannot be admitted. However, in DUI-related accidents, Georgia’s courts have held that the jury can consider the at-fault driver’s other episodes of drunk driving when deciding whether to impose punitive damages.
Unlike other personal injury accident cases, which cap punitive damages, DUI-related accident cases have no cap, or upper limit, on punitive damages.
Settlement Versus Trial
Whether your case goes to trial or not, your attorney will prepare your case as if it were going to trial. This ensures that all evidence is gathered to support your arguments that the defendant was negligent and, in some cases, so reckless that damages should include punitive damages. This information will help in negotiating a favorable settlement.
Insurance companies do not willingly give money unless the evidence is strong against their insured. It is beneficial to prepare your case as if it is going to trial to have all the information necessary to negotiate a favorable settlement. Your attorney can obtain documentation to support your claim by subpoenaing various records and documents, conducting numerous depositions, and digging into the defendant’s background for other drinking and drunk driving acts. The more information you can locate on the defendant, the better your position will be negotiating with their insurance carrier to resolve the case before trial.
Georgia DUI Accident Lawyer
If you are ever injured due to a DUI accident in Georgia, consult with a DUI accident injury lawyer. You will want to be up to speed on your legal options and rights and how you could go about bringing a powerful insurance claim or lawsuit. Dozier Law has extensive experience helping injured people get justice and compensation. We will get you through this. For more information, get in touch with Dozier Law for a free consultation by calling (888) 239-2129 or contacting us online.