Each life lost to drunk driving accidents is a tragedy. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 10,000 people die in the United States each year as a result of drunk driving accidents. In Georgia alone, 3,241 people were killed as a result of these accidents from 2009-2018.
At Butler Kahn, we are proud to support victims of drunk driving accidents in their time of need. Our Roswell drunk driving accident lawyers have decades of experience helping people recover fair compensation for their injuries and losses. We are ready to help you. If you were injured by a drunk driver in Roswell, contact our firm today for a free consultation.
Is Drunk Driving a Crime in Roswell?
In Roswell, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is a serious crime known as “driving under the influence” (DUI). Sadly, the law does not deter all drivers from consuming alcohol while behind the wheel. In 2020, there were 12,008 DUI convictions in Georgia.
In most cases, authorities measure your intoxication by testing your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). The law specifically explains, “A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving commercial motor vehicle while there is 0.04 percent or more by weight of alcohol in such person’s blood, breath, or urine.” Further, a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher results in a violation known as a DUI per se, meaning that alcohol concentrations at this level or higher serve as automatic evidence of the crime.
That said, some people are surprised to learn that BAC tests are not the only way to prove a DUI. A motorist who engages in unsafe driving behaviors while there is a measurable amount of alcohol in their system can also be convicted of a DUI. In other words, though certain BAC levels serve as direct evidence of a DUI, prosecutors can also rely on circumstantial evidence.
In Georgia, being convicted of a DUI is a misdemeanor in most instances, so long as the intoxicated driver does not injure or kill anyone. A first DUI conviction could land a drunk driver in jail for anywhere from 30 days to 12 months. A second conviction can lead to 90 days to 12 months. A third conviction can lead to 120 days and 12 months in jail.
Finally, a fourth DUI conviction within 10 years is an automatic felony. Among other things, this can result in up to 5 years in state prison.
Is the Drunk Driver Always Considered at Fault in a Drunk Driving Accident?
No, a drunk driver is not automatically at fault for an accident simply because they were intoxicated at the time it occurred. For a drunk driver to be at fault, their actions must have contributed to the crash. If their intoxication was merely incidental to the collision, it would not contribute to their liability. For example, a drunk driver who is rear-ended by another driver while stopped at a red light is not at fault simply because they were intoxicated. A Roswell drunk driving accident lawyer can help.
Who Can Be Held Liable If the Drunk Driver Has No Insurance in Roswell?
Drivers in Georgia are legally required to carry auto insurance. Of course, many people do not follow the law. If you are injured by an uninsured drunk driver, do not despair — chances are that you can pursue compensation through other routes.
Of course, your drunk driving accident attorney will likely file a lawsuit directly against the drunk driver. However, uninsured drivers typically do not have the funds to compensate you for your losses themselves.
In these cases, your best option for recovering compensation after an accident with an uninsured driver may be to file a claim with your own insurer through your uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist policy. You are not legally required to purchase this extra coverage when you buy auto insurance. However, if you do not wish to purchase it, you must say so in writing.
In some cases, you may also file a lawsuit under Georgia’s dram shop laws. These laws allow you to recover compensation from a negligent bar, restaurant, or other alcohol vendors whose actions contributed to the accident. Specifically, alcohol vendors may be liable for selling alcohol to anyone “in a state of noticeable intoxication” who later causes an accident.
What Are the Most Common Injuries Resulting from a Drunk Driving Accident?
Drunk driving accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries. Among other things, these may include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Severed, crushed, or amputated limbs
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Sprains, strains, bruises, and other soft-tissue injuries
- Permanent disfigurement
- Post-traumatic stress disorder and other forms of emotional distress
What Compensation Is Available for a Drunk Driving Accident Victim?
The amount of compensation you receive will be calculated based on the severity of your injuries and other losses. If you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, the personal injury attorneys of Butler Kahn can help you seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning potential
- Permanent disfigurement and disability
- Lowered quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Wrongful death
- Damaged personal property
What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Drunk Driving Injury Lawsuit in Georgia?
In most cases, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against a drunk driver who injured you. This deadline is strictly enforced. Missing it almost always means that you forfeit your right to seek compensation for your injuries in court. Therefore, be sure to speak to a drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash. Contact our Roswell drunk driving accident attorney today.
Contact a Roswell Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Drunk driving is a serious crime that destroys innocent lives. The car accident lawyers at Butler Kahn are committed to helping victims of drunk driving accidents understand their rights and secure the compensation they deserve.
We are ready to fight for you. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a drunk driver accident, call Butler Kahn today for a free consultation. You pay nothing unless we win your case.