How Georgia Handles DUI Accident Cases

Drunk Driving Accident

Drunk driving continues to be an issue at the national level. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 13,524 people lost their lives in 2022 across the US in drunk driving accidents. So, how does Georgia law handle DUI accident cases? An experienced Buford car accident lawyer will help you understand the legal implications of this type of crash.

Here are the potential consequences for the driver and your right to obtain compensation for your damages.

Drivers Who Cause DUI Accidents Face both Civil and Criminal Penalties

When the police officers arrive to investigate the car crash, they will administer breathalyzer tests to both drivers. If the other driver’s result exceeds the maximum BAC level of 0.08%, they will be arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

From this point onwards, the at-fault driver faces two separate legal actions:

  • Criminal charges for breaking the DUI law
  • Potential civil lawsuit if your attorney cannot reach a fair settlement with their auto insurer.

Moreover, since the driver caused a crash while under the influence, they will also face the supplementary criminal charge of serious injury by vehicle. This is a felony crime carrying a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

Your Right to Seek Damages Is Not Affected by Pending Criminal Action

In many DUI crash cases, the victims are actually dismayed when they realize that the other driver is handcuffed and taken away by the police. How do you file a claim against someone who is in jail?

The answer is simple: you do not have to deal with the person but with their insurance company. Regardless of how the criminal case proceeds, your insurance claim will follow the standard procedure:

  • You seek medical care immediately after the accident.
  • You bring all the available evidence (including the police report which includes the DUI finding) to a lawyer.
  • The lawyer evaluates your damages and sends the letter of demand.
  • The insurance company responds to the letter of demand.
  • Your lawyer and the insurance adjuster negotiate the settlement of your claim.

DUI Accident Concept, Car Crash With Glass of Liquor

DUI Accident Victims Can Seek Additional Compensation

When you consult with a Buford car accident lawyer, they will note the specific conditions of the crash and look for any options to get additional compensation. There are two potential sources: punitive damages and the state’s compensation fund for crime victims.

Punitive Damages in a Lawsuit

Causing an accident while under the influence of alcohol is considered gross negligence. This makes the accident victim eligible to seek punitive damages in a car accident lawsuit.

However, taking your case to court is risky. You may not be able to collect on the judgment, beyond the maximum coverage of the driver’s insurance policy. You can apply for garnishing their wages and seizing valuable assets.

But if the driver has no such assets and earns low wages, you will have to wait a very long time until you actually collect the damages.

Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program

This program offers financial compensation to victims of violent crimes, including DUI crash cases. The amount available is capped at $25,000 and has specific limits for various types of damages:

  • $15,000 for medical expenses
  • $10,000 for lost wages
  • $6,000 for funeral expenses
  • $3,000 for counseling for emotional trauma.

Let an Experienced Buford Car Accident Lawyer Fight for Your Rights!

If you were hit by a drunk driver, reach out to The Weinstein Firm for legal advice and representation. We fight aggressively for our clients’ rights and always seek the maximum compensation we can obtain.

Let justice be done and get the fair settlement you deserve – call us to schedule a free case evaluation at 770-HELP-NOW!

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