Why Drunk Driving Accidents are Different

June 06, 2024
Auto Accidents

When it comes to the dangers of drinking and driving, Georgia has seen its share of tragic accidents, making this state one of the top 10 states for drunk driving fatalities. The statistics are devastating: in 2018 alone, more than 250 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes across Georgia. This figure exceeds that of neighboring states such as Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee.

What sets intoxicated driver accidents apart from other types of car accidents? Drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs cases are unique in that they involve additional criminal and civil considerations. In addition to the typical damages associated with a motor vehicle accident, such as medical bills and pain and suffering, victims can also pursue punitive damages due to the negligent driver’s drunkenness.

The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Georgia is 0.08%. If a driver's BAC is over this limit, they may face criminal charges for DUI. Additionally, if they are the at-fault driver in an accident, they may also face civil liability.

Marks Law Group's auto accident lawyers in Decatur can provide legal assistance for personal injury claims and civil lawsuits involving drunk drivers. Call our firm at (678) 251-9309 to schedule a free consultation.

Negligence Per Se in Car Accident Claims

Negligence per se means that violating a safety law can be used as evidence of negligence in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Drunk driving of personal and commercial vehicles is illegal in all states, including Georgia, so causing an accident while drunk driving is automatically considered negligent.

Drunk driving accident victims can seek compensatory and punitive damages from the insurance carrier. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from similar behavior. In Georgia, punitive damages are available in civil cases involving intentional or reckless misconduct.

How Other People’s Negligence Affects Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving accidents are often more serious and catastrophic for the injured party than other types of car accidents because of the negligence involved. When someone gets behind the wheel of a vehicle with a blood alcohol content level above the legal limit, they are not only endangering their own life but also the lives of every other person on the road. This is why Georgia drunk driving accidents can be especially devastating for those affected.

a car accident caused by a drunk driver

When it comes to assessing blame for a drunk driving crash, other people’s negligence can come into play. For example under social host liability, if the driver was served alcohol at a bar or restaurant when they were already intoxicated, the establishment may be found responsible for enabling the driver to get behind the wheel.

Similarly, if someone else provided alcohol to an underage person who then drove while under noticeable intoxication and caused a drunk driving collision, that person could also be held liable.

Additionally, if a driver had prior DUI offenses and was still allowed to drive by the Department of Motor Vehicles or another government agency, that agency could be held responsible for the auto accident as well.

Dram Shop Laws

Drunk driving accidents are different from other types of traffic accident fatalities because of the potential for criminal prosecution and criminal penalties. When a person drives with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit and causes a crash, they can be held liable both civilly and criminally.

In addition to that, if there was an establishment that sold or served alcohol to the impaired individual who caused the accident, they may face liability too through a legal concept known as dram shop laws.

In Georgia, establishments that serve alcohol are required to follow certain rules and regulations. If they fail to do so and a drunk patron causes an accident, the establishment could be held liable for damages through a dram shop lawsuit.

You Could Be Partly at Fault

Drunk driving accidents can be especially complex because both the driver driving under the influence of alcohol and other drivers can be partly at fault.

Georgia, like many states, adheres to the legal concept of “comparative negligence” or “comparative fault” when it comes to assessing blame and awarding damages in a car accident involving a drunk driver. This means that even if the drunk driver is found to be primarily responsible for causing the accident if you were partly at fault as well, you may still be able to collect damages from the other party.

To determine who was at fault in a drunk driving accident and how much each party should be held liable for accident claim damages, it’s important to consult with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney. A drunk driving accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and options, and protect your interests throughout the personal injury lawsuit process.

Drunk Driving Cases May be Worth More

Drunk driving cases are some of the most serious types of motor vehicle accidents, often resulting in severe catastrophic injuries, loss of consortium, or death for sober drivers.

In addition to these tragic outcomes, they also may be worth more in terms of economic damages than other types of car accident cases. This is because drunk drivers can be held liable for punitive damages in addition to any compensatory damages that might be awarded.

Punitive damages are awarded to punish the wrongdoer for their actions and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior. In Georgia, punitive damages are available in civil cases involving intentional or reckless misconduct, such as drunk driving cases.

Insurance Companies Want to Settle

When it comes to serious and catastrophic accidents, insurance companies are eager to settle DUI cases out of court. This is because they know that if the case goes to trial, the jury will be very sympathetic to the victims of a drunk driving accident. In addition, there are many legal issues involving intoxication that can be difficult for insurance providers to prove in court.

a gavel, glass of alcohol, and car key on a desk

When settling a DUI case, it is important to remember that the insurance company does not have your best interests in mind. Therefore, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you get the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.

You Need to Protect Yourself

Drunk driving accidents are some of the most tragic and devastating events that can happen. Not only do they cause enormous physical and emotional pain, but they also have a long-term impact on the lives of those involved such as financial losses and loss of enjoyment. In addition to the potential legal consequences of drunk driving, it’s important for individuals to also understand the risks associated with this type of accident and take steps to protect themselves.

In the event of an injury caused by drunk driving, seeking the guidance of a skilled attorney can assist in comprehending legal options and securing fair compensation.

Call Aaron Marks Today and Put Your Case in Great Hands!

If you were in a drunk driving accident, you must have skilled representation. Aaron Marks can provide experienced legal advice and representation. He is knowledgeable about the unique issues surrounding drunk driving accidents in Georgia. 

His dedication and attention are unmatched in the area. He will provide personal service and guidance throughout the process. Don't wait contact Aaron Marks today for a free consultation.