Despite the strict drunk driving laws in Macon, Georgia, statistics show that over 1 million drivers were arrested in 2018 for driving under the influence. The problem is that drunk drivers don’t only pose a risk to themselves but to the general public as a whole.
So what happens when you are in an accident with another driver who was under the influence of alcohol (or other substances) when the accident occurred? What are your rights and how can you claim compensation for the damages and losses that you incur?
Bethune Law Firm has a dedicated team of Macon drunk driving accident lawyers that specialize in personal injury cases involving drunk drivers. We are there to help you get the compensation you deserve for financial and other losses resulting from the illegal behavior of a drunk driver. Contact Bethune Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with our car accident attorneys.
Drunk Driving Statistics In Georgia
The entire state of Georgia suffered 375 fatalities in 2018 as a result of impaired driving, however, this number represents 25% of total fatalities attributed to car accidents. Even more frightening is that this only speaks to fatalities and not the number of accidents that were caused resulting in mild to catastrophic injuries as well as damage to property.
Of these fatal accidents, 71.3% can be attributed to repeat offenders. 100% of repeat offenders with a BAC exceeding 0.15% were responsible for causing accidents that led to a fatality.
Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of higher than 0.15% and repeat offenders receive higher penalties such as increased jail or prison time, fines, driver’s license revocation, interlock ignition devices, and rehabilitation or training courses aimed at preventing drunk driving in the future.
While these penalties deliver justice, they do not compensate drivers or their loved ones for the injuries, damage to property or loss of life they experienced. Victims of drunk driving accidents have legal recourse in civil courts to claim compensation for their losses from the liable drunk driver.
What Are The BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) Limits In Georgia?
Georgia’s blood alcohol concentration limits are:
- Drivers with a BAC exceeding 0.08% are considered to be under the influence.
- Drivers under the age of 21 years with BAC of 0.02% and higher are driving under the influence.
- Commercial drivers with a BAC over 0.04% are considered to be under the influence.
A breath analysis test as well as blood tests can be administered to determine BAC. If a driver refuses a blood test, they are considered to have been driving under the influence.
If the driver has used any substance that may impair their driving ability in any way, they are considered to be driving under the influence. This includes alcohol, recreational drugs, prescription, and over-the-counter medications that may impair driving ability.
Injuries That Are Commonly Associated With Drunk Driving Accidents
Injuries caused by drunk driving accidents are similar to those that are caused by regular motor-vehicle accidents. However, injuries are often more serious due to the high-speed at which drunk-driving accidents are likely to occur. Drunk drivers are also more likely to cause pedestrian-involved accidents.
Some injuries that are common as a result of a drunk-driving accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord or spinal column injuries
- Bone fractures or breaks
- Internal bleeding and/or organ damage
- Loss of limbs
- Soft tissue (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) injuries
No matter how mild or serious the injury, you can claim for medical expenses, loss of wages or pain & suffering and mental distress resulting from the injury.
What To Do After An Accident With A Drunk Driver?
If you have been in an accident with an intoxicated driver follow these steps:
Call the Authorities
Don’t leave the scene of the accident. Collect contact and insurance information from the alleged drunk driver. If the accident is serious, contact the police to send officers to the scene.
They will assess whether the other driver is under the influence and make a report. If officers are not at the scene, report the accident to your nearest police station as soon as possible (within 72 hours). Get a copy of the officer’s reports if possible.
Take Photographic Evidence
Also, photograph the scene and look for any evidence that the driver was drinking such as a bottle in the front of their car. Speak to any potential witnesses and get their contact information.
See a Doctor
First and foremost, your health and wellbeing are of the greatest importance. If medical responders are not at the scene to assess your injuries, go to an emergency room, or visit a doctor as soon as possible.
Remember that some injuries may not be immediately noticeable like in the case of organ damage, internal bleeding or traumatic brain injury. Keep all medical records, bills, and doctor’s notes to substantiate your claim.
Call a Macon Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Call a lawyer to evaluate your case and determine what damages you can claim for. A lawyer will also investigate the actions of the drunk driver before the accident to prove that they were driving under the influence.
What Damages Can I Claim For In Georgia From A Drunk Driving Accident?
There are three types of damages that you can claim under personal injury law in Macon, Georgia:
- Economic damages include medical expenses, loss of wages, and damage to property. Both past and future expenses can form part of the claim.
- Non-economic damages such as pain & suffering, emotional or mental distress, loss of consortium, and loss of the ability to partake in activities you enjoyed before the injury.
- Punitive damages are compensatory but also meant to punish the drunk driver and prevent them from repeating the offense.
How Long Do I Have To File A Claim?
The statute of limitations for all personal injury claims (including those resulting from a drunk driving accident) is 2 years. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim for compensation for damages.
Why Is It Important To Hire A Lawyer?
A lawyer is there to provide you with expert legal advice and to investigate your case to determine liability and the extent of the claim. They will also take care of preparing and filing your claim.
In most personal injury cases, a lawyer will use their skills to negotiate a settlement out of court to save time and the uncertainty that is often associated with trials.
However, an expert lawyer will also present your case in court if necessary. You have a better chance of receiving a favorable outcome and fair compensation for your losses with a lawyer representing your best interests.
File Your Claim With Bethune Law Firm
Drunk driving is a serious offense in the state of Georgia and has serious legal consequences. Apart from criminal charges that can be brought against the offender, victims of drunk driving accidents can also seek compensation for damages that they incurred.
If you or a loved one were in a car accident involving a drunk driver, call Bethune Law Firm on 1-800-INJURED. Our personal injury attorneys will assess your unique case and determine what you can claim for and how much.