How common are drunk driving accidents?
Alcohol-related crashes remain a leading cause of car accident injuries and deaths in the United States. Nearly 12,000 people die in drunk-driving crashes across the country each year, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Breaking those statistics down further, NHTSA found that an estimated 1,440 people are injured and 29 others killed in alcohol-related accidents in one day alone.
While no DUI-related deaths are acceptable, the number of drunk-driving fatalities in Georgia is thankfully trending downward. The Georgia Governor’s Office for Highway Safety’s most recent annual report notes that alcohol-impaired fatalities have dropped over the past 10 years, from a high of 454 deaths in 2006 to 331 deaths in 2009. Still, motorists are six times more likely to die in DUI accidents than in crashes not involving controlled substances.
Where do drunk-driving accidents happen in Georgia?
Almost everywhere, but DUI crashes are most common in urban areas and college towns. The highest number of alcohol-related fatalities typically occurs in Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett and Cobb counties, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. However, rural areas can also be deadly, as they often have two-lane roads with less room to move if a drunk driver swerves out of control.
What types of injuries are common in DUI crashes?
Sadly, drunk-driving accidents cause more catastrophic injuries than accidents that do not involve alcohol. That is because the intoxicated driver simply has poor control of the vehicle. Alcohol slows reflex times and impairs drivers’ judgment, so drunk drivers often drive at faster speeds and do not notice when they drift across lanes or are approaching red lights. Virtually any type of injury is possible, ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis and death.
Do DUI cases involve only alcohol?
No. A driver can be charged with DUI in Georgia for being under the influence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications as well.
What are my options if I’ve been injured in a DUI wreck in Georgia?
Drunk driving is a criminal offense in Georgia. If you were injured in an alcohol-related accident, the driver will face charges in criminal court, but you may also pursue a civil claim against him or her. Civil claims allow victims to recover compensatory damages for the economic impact of their injuries, such as money to assist with payment of medical bills and lost income. It also allows for the collection of punitive damages, which is money awarded when it is shown that the drunk driver behaved with reckless disregard for the consequences of getting behind the wheel.
What is a dram shop lawsuit?
Georgia’s dram shop laws allow victims of drunk-driving accidents to pursue a legal claim against a business or establishment – such as a bar, liquor store, restaurant or tavern – that sold alcohol to a visibly impaired individual or minor who later injures or kills another person in an accident.
Dram shop laws can assist victims of drunk driving accidents to obtain damages that exceed what they may be able to obtain through insurance companies. However, you don’t necessarily have a dram shop claim just because the drunk driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher when he or she left the establishment. Remember, one of the criteria for a dram shop claim is that you must prove the offender was visibly impaired and was served alcohol anyway. Everyone’s body responds differently to alcohol, and a person may have a BAC that exceeds the legal limit and still not appear to be drunk.
But even if the bartender or liquor store clerk says that the drunk driver didn’t appear intoxicated, there are ways for our DUI lawyers at the Accident & Disability Attorneys of Monge & Associates to prove them wrong. Many night clubs and other businesses that serve alcohol also have video surveillance equipment in their parking lots, which may be able to provide visible proof that the person was physically impaired.
Why should I hire the Accident & Disability Attorneys of Monge & Associates to help with my DUI personal injury case?
If you’ve been hurt in a Georgia drunk-driving case, an attorney can help make sure that insurance adjusters don’t keep you from obtaining the best settlement possible. Our lawyers are also able to look for other responsible parties beyond the drunk driver (see our dram shop information above) to ensure that you’ve exhausted all of your legal options so that you can begin to rebuild your life.
In addition, our firm has a special commitment to drunk-driving prevention. The Accident & Disability Attorneys of Monge & Associates is a longtime sponsor of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and its initiatives, including its annual Walk Like Madd fundraising event. MADD provides emotional support, information and referrals to drunk-driving victims and their families. MADD Victim Services also provides support to DUI victims after a criminal case is over, including assistance with pardons and parole, specialized vigils, groups and events for those impacted by drunk drivers.
Are You The Victim Of A Georgia DUI Accident? Call Our Personal Injury Lawyers Now
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The Accident & Disability Attorneys of Monge & Associates serves clients in Atlanta, Decatur, Lithonia, College Park, East Point, Stone Mountain, Norcross, Conyers, Riverdale, Duluth, Fayetteville, Loganville and across Georgia and the Southeast.