An Atlanta drunk driving accident lawyer from our team can help you pursue your case if an intoxicated driver caused your injury crash. Crash victims hurt by another driver’s reckless actions have a right to hold that motorist legally responsible for their injuries, expenses, and losses. Our attorneys represent the victims in these cases and fight for justice.
At Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group, we provide free consultations. You can learn more about your options from our team. We can discuss your case, how we may help, and answer your questions about the process. Our team members understand how frustrating and challenging it is to file a claim or lawsuit while healing from injuries after a crash. Let our attorney handle this process for you.
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Understanding Applicable Laws in Your Atlanta Drunk Driving Crash Case
Drunk driving is illegal in all 50 states. In Atlanta, drivers who violate the law for driving under the influence of alcohol could face criminal consequences. This is the case most think about when they consider the repercussions of drunk driving. When an intoxicated driver causes a crash, they could face increased jail time, fines, and other penalties. In addition, they are the liable party in the civil case based on the accident.
The civil case is what allows us to get justice for our clients. Under state law, victims can hold the driver who caused their crash legally responsible, including drunk drivers. By filing a civil lawsuit or negotiating a payout with their insurer, we can hold intoxicated motorists liable and recover fair compensation for our clients.
Proving Negligence in Drunk Driving Accident Cases
To hold a driver legally accountable, we must show negligence occurred.
This happens when:
- The driver owes the victim a duty of care, usually to follow a specific traffic law.
- They breach that duty, generally violating the law.
- Their breach causes an accident.
- The victim suffers physical and financial harm.
When we show these four elements are present in a crash, we can often hold the driver accountable for the accident. This is true regardless of the outcome of the criminal case or whether there is evidence of drunk driving. If the driver’s intoxication caused them to cross the centerline and hit you head-on, we only need to show they failed to maintain their lane and caused the collision.
In some cases, another party might be vicariously liable for the crash. This occurs when the drunk driver was behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle when they caused the crash. Truck drivers and others who hold CDLs could share liability for a crash with their employer. We are often able to hold trucking companies and other corporations legally responsible for the crashes their drivers cause.
How Do Drunk Drivers Cause Accidents?
Alcohol lowers reaction time and impairs judgment. Many people find their personalities change under alcohol’s effects. Some people withdraw and become extra cautious. Other people become overly aggressive with alcohol in their systems.
This aggressive or fearless behavior can take the form of speeding, racing, or ignoring the safety of others or even themselves. The lack of reaction time also prevents drunk drivers from adjusting and keeping themselves out of harm's way when something unexpected happens.
Impaired driving can lead to accidents from:
Research has shown that alcohol not only reduces reaction time but also makes people more aggressive. This aggression can lead to more accidents as their assertive attitude can cause them to take more chances behind the wheel. Atlanta roads are already filled with aggressive drivers.
When people drive aggressively, their emotions cause them to make poor choices. Coupled with alcohol, the already aggressive city’s drivers could make driving in Atlanta even more dangerous.
With their impaired judgment, drunk drivers often turn the wrong way down a street. They may go the wrong direction on a one-way avenue or drive into oncoming traffic on a highway. When other drivers encounter behavior this surprising, they sometimes don’t know what to do. They may swerve to try to get out of the drunk driver’s way. They might hit the drunk driver head-on if they don’t have the time or road space to react in time.
Sometimes a drunk driver may change lanes without warning, swinging their vehicles wildly to the left and crossing multiple lanes of traffic without signaling. They then might travel the wrong way down the street, colliding with oncoming traffic.
Because drunk drivers have a slower reaction time, they may speed up to vehicles in front of them. When they do not leave enough space in front of them, sudden braking on the part of the car in front of them could lead to a rear-end collision. Their slow reaction time often prevents them from braking in time or taking other actions to avoid rear-ending the car in front of them.
Drunk drivers may carelessly swing into other lanes without regard for who is around them. Or they may lose consciousness and allow the car to drift over into other lanes on its own. Either situation could cause them to sideswipe drivers who had the misfortune to travel on the same road.
Drunk drivers’ slow reactions and poor judgment sometimes cause them to slam into a curb and rollover. Not only could they end up hitting other cars around them, but the resulting accident could cause a chain reaction of other vehicles traveling along the same road.
Drunk driving accidents can be horrifying events for the victims. Lives can be ruined or ended in a heartbeat. If you are the victim of a drunk driver, you must understand what to do in the event of an accident.
Damages Recoverable in an Atlanta Drunk Driving Accident Case
Getting compensation in an Atlanta drunk driving accident case requires us to document the recoverable expenses and losses and calculate the fair settlement value of the case. This includes a wide range of damages that occurred because of the crash and your injuries.
Each case has its own facts, such as the expenses and losses. However, many of our clients suffer similar types of damages. This allows us to identify and document the most common damages in these cases.
Some of the damages we pursue for a client hurt in a drunk driving crash include:
- Medical bills and related expenses
- Future care and support costs
- Missed income while away from work
- Diminished earning capacity
- Property damage expenses
- Miscellaneous expenses with receipts
- Pain and suffering damages
- Other non-economic damages
How Our Attorneys Calculate Your Damages
Once we have documentation to show the expenses and losses you incurred, we calculate the fair settlement range of your claim. This task requires us to understand the value of each type of damage. This is straightforward when considering expenses and losses to date. However, we also need to include future and non-economic damages. These losses are more difficult to calculate.
Our attorneys work with experts to put a fair settlement value on the client’s case. These experts help us understand the injuries suffered, the client’s prognosis, and all the necessary treatment, care, and support they will likely need in the future. We also use our experience and industry knowledge to value the non-economic damages, which are intangible.
Wrongful Death in a Drunk Driving Accident Case
We handle wrongful death actions based on the parameters under state law. If your family member died in a crash a drunk driver caused, there are options for seeking compensation for your family. We build these cases, file an insurance claim or lawsuit, and fight for fair payout. Our attorneys work on wrongful death cases based on contingency. You can learn more during a free consultation with our team.
Our Attorneys Take Action on Behalf of Atlanta Drunk Driving Crash Victims
When we represent a client hurt in an Atlanta drunk driving crash, we need to understand exactly what happened and who is responsible. We investigate the accident to uncover the evidence that supports our client’s financial recovery. This allows us to show negligence and liability, resulting in a fair and just payout for the client.
We Can Gather Evidence to Establish Fault and Liability
The evidence we recover on behalf of our clients differs from case to case. Sometimes, we can quickly document negligence and liability, including providing evidence the at-fault driver was drinking before the crash occurred. In other cases, this is much more difficult, and we rely on their violation of another traffic law to hold them legally responsible and recover compensation.
Some common types of evidence we compile include:
- The police accident report
- Evidence from the criminal drunk driving case, if available
- Accident scene survey
- Eyewitness reports
- Accident reconstruction
- Relevant medical records
- Expert statements
- Documentation of damages
Using the evidence gathered during our investigation, our team seeks to show:
- What happened
- What caused the crash
- Who is legally liable for the accident
- How the collision affected our client
- The value of the damages the client suffered
We use this information to support our allegations against the drunk driver, demanding their insurer pay fair compensation. Otherwise, they will face a lawsuit in civil court. Our trial attorneys handle these lawsuits regularly. They know how to prepare the court case and represent our client at trial when necessary.
Our Team Can Help You Meet State Deadlines
Most accident victims have up to two years to file the initial paperwork and begin a lawsuit. There are exceptions to this deadline, so you could have more or less time based on the circumstances of your case. We encourage you to connect with our team as soon as your injuries allow to ensure you meet all applicable timelines and protect your right to sue and seek fair compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Our Atlanta Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
We included a few common questions victims of Atlanta drunk driving accidents ask our team. These are general answers to help you understand the possible outcomes in your case. Consider contacting our team for a free consultation to learn more specific details about your case.
What Should I Do After a Drunk Driving Accident?
Any traffic accident has the potential to result in injuries, but because of their impaired judgment, drunk drivers often cause even more severe accidents. Below are steps to follow after you are in an accident.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
There is no way to estimate how much a case might be worth until we gather receipts, bills, and other documentation of your damages. We need to know the expenses and losses incurred, the future effects of the accident, and your intangible losses before we can estimate a fair settlement range.
We can discuss the types of damages we may seek in your case with you during your free consultation, but we cannot know an estimated value until later in your case.
Should I Talk to the At-Fault Driver or Their Insurer?
We recommend contacting us and letting our team handle all communication related to your case. We talk to the insurance company and/or attorneys representing the at-fault driver and manage all communications with them throughout the process.
When an accident victim speaks to the insurer, the adjuster could use anything they say against them. The insurance adjuster is not on your side. Their goal is to pay out as little as possible for each claim. They sometimes use recorded statements from victims to show they had pre-existing injuries, suffered injuries in some other way, or otherwise reduce the compensation the insurance company has to pay.
Why Shouldn’t I Settle My Case Now?
Some insurance companies approach accident victims early on after a crash to offer a settlement. They provide a number that sounds like a lot of money, and many crash victims accept it without questioning the value of their case. We recommend always discussing your options with an attorney first. Before documenting your expenses and losses, there is no way to know how much your case might be worth.
As a part of investigating your case, our lawyers determine a fair settlement range. This allows us to ensure we understand the value of the case, including your future treatment and care needs, income losses, and other future damages.
Do I Need an Attorney to Handle My Drunk Driving Accident Claim?
There is no legal requirement to hire an attorney to manage an insurance claim or lawsuit, but it is highly recommended. Your lawyer knows how to navigate the claims process, build a case, prepare legal paperwork, and successfully negotiate a fair settlement when possible. They represent clients at trial when necessary. All of this requires time, knowledge, and experience with the legal system and similar cases.
Your attorney can handle all aspects of your civil case while you focus on healing and returning to your previous activities. This is what is most important for your future and your health. Of course, we know you need the financial recovery to support your treatment and care, too. Working with our lawyer can help you meet both goals.
What Can I Do if My Loved One Died From Their Injuries?
When a crash victim passes away from their injuries, state law allows for the recovery of compensation through a wrongful death case. Navigating these legal actions can be complex, but our attorneys handle the process for clients. We can often recover lost income, outstanding bills, and other expenses and losses for families whose loved ones have died.
We help our clients determine who the law allows to represent the family in these actions and pursue the case for them. Our team knows how to handle these cases with compassion and understanding while fighting for the justice your loved one deserves.
Discuss Your Atlanta Drunk Driving Accident With Our Team for Free
Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group offers free case assessments for victims of drunk drivers in Atlanta. We can answer your questions, discuss your options, and explain our services.