In 2019, in the state of Georgia, there were 1,491 alcohol-related car accidents. 353 of those crashes resulted in fatal injuries. Unfortunately, even with Ride Share Applications available at the click of a button, drunk driving accidents are becoming more and more common. Many people still drive after having a few drinks, which can dramatically impact their driving ability. While drunk driving is 100% preventable for the driver, innocent people suffer from the driver’s poor decisions.
Drunk driving crashes need to be handled completely differently than any other car accident. Drunk driving accidents include both criminal and civil cases for their repercussions. The criminal case punishes the driver with fines, jail time, and loss of license while helping to protect the public from any other harm the drunk driver could cause. The civil case will assist the injured victims in seeking damages to cover medical treatment, lost wages, damaged property, and more.
In a drunk driving accident, the case ends up very differently than a normal car accident. A few reasons are:
The behaviors of the defendant, the drunk driver, are just as important as the injuries the plaintiff has experienced. This allows you to sue for punitive damages against the drunk driver, meaning damages meant to deter that person from ever having that type of behavior again. While there is a criminal aspect to drunk driving with charges and jail time, suing for damages will hit the defendant where it really hurts, their assets. In the state of Georgia, there is not a cap on the amount of damages a jury can award to the plaintiff in the case of punitive damages.
Juries, judges, and insurance companies all hate drunk drivers. Knowing about the lack of a cap on punitive damages, insurance companies will try to settle the case before going to trial. Our strategy at the J. Stein Law Firm is to receive the maximum amount for insurance that is available. Insurance companies know this so pre-trial settlements are higher – if you know how to ask for them.
An additional analysis of a drunk driving case is finding out where the drunk driver consumed or purchased the alcohol. This is referred to as a “Dram Shop Act” case. In the state of Georgia, there is a dram shop law that allows a person injured by a drunk driver to hold the seller of alcohol, such as a bar, restaurant, or liquor store, liable if the establishment knowingly served alcohol to someone who was in a state of noticeable intoxication, and knows that intoxicated person will be driving a vehicle. There is also a case if the establishment willingly, knowingly, and unlawfully served alcohol to someone under the age of 21 knowing they were soon to drive, An injured person can sue the establishment for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, the J. Stein Law Firm can help you. We will be able to seek damages on your behalf to help you recover from such a horrible accident. Give us a call today to get started on your path to justice.