I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver, What Happens Now?
Being the victim of an accident caused by a drunk driver is not the same as being the victim of a regular accident. Most accidents are caused by everyday human error such as not leaving enough distance between vehicles, talking with your passenger, or messing with the radio dial. In a DUI case, however, the driver willingly and knowingly gets behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs making his judgment impaired. Thus, being the victim of such an accident can be an emotional and overwhelming experience. The Larrison Law Firm is experienced in this type of case and the additional damages that you are entitled to as the victim.
Due to the complexities of accidents involving drunk drivers, the need for an experienced auto accident attorney is all the more important. In a regular accident, Georgia Law allows you to recover for the full costs of your medical bills, your mileage traveling to and from medical appointments, your time lost from work, your property damage, and your pain and suffering. The focus remains on compensating YOU for the traverses you have endured due to the other driver’s negligence.
However, in a DUI case, the focus of your recoveries shifts to the drunk driver. In a case where the defendant has been found at-fault due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the plaintiff can recover for something known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are a monetary recovery that Georgia Law allows for you to collect in addition to your recovery for reimbursement for your medical bills and pain and suffering. The focus in punitive damages is to punish the other driver’s behavior in an attempt to prevent, deter, and discourage similar future behavior. Georgia Law has no cap on the amount of money a jury could award in punitive damages.
Additionally, you can also hold the company, bar, or household responsible for allowing an obviously inebriated patron to get behind the wheel.
Nevertheless, the burden of proving that the other driver was operating his/her vehicle while under the influence lies with you, the injured party. You must prove that the other driver is guilty of DUI. Often times, the criminal case that stems from the collision will involve charges for DUI; a charge that must get sorted out through the criminal system. Ideally, the at-fault driver pleads guilty of the charge, and you can use this guilty plea in making your case for punitive damages in your civil case. However, often times, the at-fault driver will plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to avoid the DUI charge. This plea does not mean that you must abandon your claim for punitive damages. Instead, an experienced accident attorney can still navigate through the legal system to maximize your opportunity to recover the additional punitive damages.
Please note, Insurance companies often times hire attorneys earlier than normal in accidents involving drunk drivers, as they will want to build their case to minimize the potential of their liability in recovery for any parties involved. Needless to say, it is very important that you hire an attorney experienced in handling drunk driving cases to ensure your rights are protected and your recovery is in fact maximized.
The team here at The Larrison Law Firm is experienced in handling cases involving drunk drivers, but more importantly, the team here knows and understands all that you have been through and will be there for you to answer all your questions and put you at ease with all your concerns. Our staff will fight to get you all the compensation that you deserve and help facilitate the claims process on your behalf to make this experience as seamless as possible for you and your family.
Your Health Comes First
At our law firm, nothing is more important than your health and well-being. After an accident that causes serious injury, it is important that you get the medical attention you need to recover. Do not put off seeking treatment after an accident. As you begin your recovery, we will assess your situation and review your insurance policy to determine if MedPay can cover some or all of your medical expenses. If it does not, we will help you determine your options.
Never Settling Until You Are Ready
At our law firm, we are focused on doing what is right for you. We will never push you into a resolution that you are not comfortable with or recommend that you settle your case before you are ready. We want what is best for you and will do everything in our power to achieve it.
At Our Firm, Your First Consultation Is Free
We would like to speak with you about your injuries. Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys by calling 770-554-8100. You may also get in touch with us online.