The State of Georgia continues to put effort into lowering DUI convictions and improving roadway safety. Unfortunately, there are still alcohol-related accidents in Athens, some fatal, creating situations where those who are involved can benefit from the services of an experienced Athens DUI accident lawyer.
At Larrison Law Firm Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys, a drunk driving accident attorney will be glad to guide you through the legal process.
How Bad Is the Drunk Driving Problem in Georgia?
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reported 353 traffic deaths involving a driver with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit in 2019. This figure represented 24% of the state’s total traffic deaths.
Drivers in fatal crashes with alcohol in their system were more likely to be speeding and not wearing a seatbelt. 10% of those charged with alcohol impairment had drunk driving convictions in the past five years.
These statistics show that, in spite of increased education and enforcement efforts, people continue to drink and get behind the wheel while impaired. Many of them are also likely to engage in other behaviors which could cause harm.
Who’s Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident in Athens?
Georgia law is structured to be especially friendly to accident victims. It allows them to file personal injury claims against drivers who have injured them. One example is if the drivers are found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They don’t have to be convicted of DUI or related crimes, or even have a high bodily alcohol content, to be found liable — only if their actions are found to have led to a dangerous situation.
This could include someone who may have had a small amount of alcohol and prescription medicine together. When combined, both of these items could cause impairment. Individuals who sold or gave alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person who causes death or damage while driving can also face liabilities.
Criminal vs. Civil Cases Against Drunk Drivers
Criminal and civil cases can proceed simultaneously. If convicted of a criminal charge, penalties may include large fines and a significant amount of time in jail, especially if the offender has past DUI convictions. Someone who faces criminal charges for DUI can be sued by a victim, victims, or their families. An Athens DUI accident lawyer can represent the victim and their families.
A civil case resulting from damage and injury from the incident could lead to the offender being required to pay a financial settlement or judgment. Related crimes from the same accident, such as hit and run, distracted driving, or vehicular homicide can potentially increase the amount of compensation owed.
Compensation for Drunk Driving Accident Victims
Georgia is a state that has a victim compensation fund, which can help people with all sorts of unplanned, unexpected charges like medical costs, counseling, lost wages, or general loss of support. It can pay funeral costs if a death occurs. It can also provide financial support for people who may not be the direct victims but are responsible for bills, such as paying a parent if a child was injured in a DUI accident.
There are time limits to apply, but an attorney can assist in the process and explain the eligibility requirements.
Through a personal injury lawsuit against a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation for medical injuries, property damage, lost wages, and general pain and suffering.
Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for Help
Dealing with the effects of a DUI can be difficult in any circumstance. People can suffer long-lasting physical pain as well as mental trauma due to someone else’s poor choices. An experienced DUI accident lawyer from Larrison Law Firm Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys are happy to help you and your loved ones.
We’ll be glad to start with a no-cost consultation where we will learn about you and your situation. Please call us or contact us online to get started and learn more.
FAQs of Drunk Driving Cases
What if I can’t afford a lawyer?
Many of these types of cases are performed on a contingency basis, which means if you receive a settlement from an insurance company or the person involved in the DUI, our firm receives a fixed percentage. This way, you don’t have to come up with funds up front, and the firm only gets paid if you get paid.
What if I don’t want to go to court?
We understand! If you’re unfamiliar with the legal system, it can feel confusing. However, many DUI civil cases result in financial settlements, which means you may only need to sign papers and won’t need to go into a courtroom.
What do I say to the insurance companies?
When you report the accident to the insurance company, give them the basic facts about the accident. When we represent you, we step in and negotiate, since we’re familiar with these processes and terminology.