According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve a drunk driver. Here in Georgia, 375 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2019; that’s more than one person every day. Fulton County alone makes up nearly ten percent of the state’s DUI arrests and alcohol-related driver’s license suspensions.
Drunk drivers are a menace on the road. Everyone knows the dangers of drinking and driving, yet people continue to do it millions of times a year. There is no excuse for this negligent behavior or the needless tragedies it brings about. The Atlanta drunk driving accident attorneys at Durham Law Group work tirelessly to bring justice to families harmed by drunk drivers who caused serious injury or death through their irresponsible choices. If you or a loved one were hit by a drunk driver in Atlanta, call the Durham Law Group at 404-845-3434 for a no-cost, confidential consultation. Our Atlanta drunk driving accident attorneys will do what it takes to hold the driver accountable and recover a significant amount of compensation to help you deal with the harm done.
Drunk Driving Car Accidents Can Be Especially Dangerous
Drunk drivers are responsible for a large number of traffic deaths and severe or catastrophic injuries for many reasons. A drunk driver’s senses, reflexes and judgment are all impaired by alcohol. Because of this, a drunk driver is less likely to be aware a crash is about to occur and take steps to avoid or minimize the collision, such as hitting the brakes or steering out of the way. Drunk driving car crashes can therefore be much more forceful than wrecks caused by other negligent driving. Also, drunk drivers are more likely to engage in the most high-risk driving behaviors, such as drifting into oncoming traffic or driving on the wrong side of the road. Need an Atlanta drunk driving accident attorney? Contact Durham Law Group.
Proving Negligence When Hit by a Drunk Driver
To hold another driver liable for causing a car crash, you have to prove that they were negligent and the one at fault in causing the accident. Proving negligence can be easier when the other driver was intoxicated. A driver who causes an accident by violating a traffic safety law designed to prevent car accidents, such as drinking and driving, can be found negligent per se without having to produce other evidence of negligence. If the driver was cited for DUI, this conviction can be used against the driver in a civil lawsuit for money damages.
It’s important to know that a DUI arrest is not necessary to hold the driver liable for causing a wreck. Different standards apply to finding fault in civil cases versus finding fault in a criminal case. Even if the other driver was not found guilty of DUI or even arrested for DUI, our Atlanta auto accident attorneys can still present evidence of intoxication and impairment to prove negligence and fault in a civil case. A criminal conviction is helpful to a civil case but not required.
Punitive Damages Might Be Appropriate in a Crash Caused by a Drunk Driver
Punitive damages are a type of monetary award meant to punish or penalize a person for especially bad conduct or deter future similar conduct. Georgia tort law authorizes punitive damages in cases of willful misconduct or where the plaintiff can show the defendant exhibited an entire lack of care, raising a presumption that the driver was consciously indifferent to the consequences of his or her behavior.
In most civil cases, punitive damages are capped at $250,000, but this limit does not apply to cases where the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Since they are not tied to any actual damages, the amount of punitive damages assessed can be much higher, often depending on the defendant’s resources and how bad the conduct was.
Punitive damages have to be proven by “clear and convincing evidence.” This is a higher standard than other aspects of a car accident negligence case, which have to be proven by a “preponderance of the evidence.” Our Atlanta drunk driving accident attorneys are skilled and experienced litigators ready and able to put in the extra effort to obtain a punitive damages award in appropriate cases.
Get the Help You Need After an Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver in Atlanta
The Durham Law Group, P.C., is committed to getting you the best result when you have been injured by the negligence of another. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a drunk driver in Atlanta, give us a call at 404-845-3434. Your initial consultation is free, and we won’t charge any fee until after we are successful in recovering compensation on your behalf. Contact an Atlanta drunk driving accident attorney today.