We have had the privilege of representing several victims who have been hit by a drunk driver or a hit and run driver. These cases are very different than the typical collision because they will usually involve punitive damages and research into the history of the at-fault driver.
Under Georgia law, in a collision caused by a drunk driver, the victim can ask for punitive damages, known as punishment damages. Punitive damages can result in additional money given to the victim for the extreme carelessness of the drunk driver. The victim must show that Defendant’s actions of driving under the influence constitute willful misconduct, malice, fraud, oppression, wantonness and an entire want of care raising a presumption of conscience indifference to the consequences.
Under Georgia law, punitive damages are always for the jury to determine in the case of DUI, the only question is amount. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 51-12.5.1(f), “there shall be no limitation regarding the amount which may be awarded as punitive damages,” if the defendant “acted or failed to act while under the influence of…drugs other than lawfully prescribed drugs administered in accordance with prescription…to that degree that his or her judgment is substantially impaired.” A guilty plea to the charge of DUI renders this issue beyond dispute. Thus, the only question will be the amount of punitive damages, which a jury will determine. As an example, we have seen the jury’s verdict awarding compensatory damages of $3,500 and punitive damages in the amount of $300,000 (more than 85 times the compensatory award).
At Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group – Gore, we will investigate your auto accident case, including performing an in depth background investigation, working with the police department and courts to find police reports and supplemental investigation records, as well as any prior drunk driving arrests for the at-fault driver. We will explore all avenues in seeking compensation for the harm you have suffered after being hit by a drunk/drugged driver.
If you or a family member has been hurt in a by a drunk driver or someone who left the scene of a car accident in Georgia, contact Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group – Gore today for a free initial consultation about your case. We specialize in cases that involve recovering against extremely reckless drivers.