Key Facts Georgians Should Know About Intoxicated Driving Accident Claims [Part I]
If you are one of the many victims of alcohol and drug impaired drivers, you might suffer significant injuries, including broken bones, fractures, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord injuries (SCIs) and other debilitating injuries. Drug and alcohol impaired drivers constitute one of the leading causes of auto collisions both in Georgia and throughout the U.S. Alcohol impaired drivers are involved in approximately a third of all fatal motor vehicle accidents nationally according to the Nationally Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Further, drugs other than alcohol, such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription medications are involved in 18 percent of fatal crashes with many drivers under the influence of both types of intoxicating substances according to the NHTSA.
Georgia's drunk driving laws have been rated as "excellent" by MADD, but there are over 32,000 people convicted of DUI within the state each year according to MADD's website. The organization also reports that drunk driving accounted for an average of over 300 driving fatalities in Georgia over a recent three year period, which amounts to an average of 24 percent of all traffic-related deaths during that period. Because alcohol and drugs cause injuries to hundreds of thousands of vehicle occupants and deaths to thousands of others, our Atlanta drunk driving accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have provided some key facts every Georgia driver should know about intoxicated driving in this two-part blog.
Will the other driver be liable for injuries caused by a car accident if the driver has a BAC over .08 percent?
If a driver has a BAC of .08 percent or above, this constitutes DUI per se under Georgia drunk driving laws. While drivers with a BAC that is over the legal limit will usually be financial responsible for a car accident, the facts and circumstances of the collision also must be considered. Alcohol impaired drivers frequently make driving mistakes that cause or contribute to collisions. A motorist's driving must be negligent to be liable for a collision, so the key will be the impact of the defendant's alcohol or drug impairment on his or her driving behavior. While a driver who operates a motor vehicle flawlessly can still be convicted of DUI with a BAC of .08 percent or higher, civil liability for damages requires that the impaired motorist's driving constitute a substantial factor in causing the accident. If the intoxicated driver violates a traffic safety law or otherwise drives unsafely, the fact the driver was intoxicated might result in a more substantial recovery, including the assessment of punitive damages.
What should I do if I am involved in a crash with another motorist who I suspect is under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
If you think the other driver who hit you is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should summon the police to the scene of the accident. The officer can observe the other driver and request that the driver participate in standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) and chemical testing. While an accident causing an injury might justify a mandatory blood test, depending on the jurisdiction, you should provide as much evidence as you can to the investigating officer. If you witnessed the other driver commit a traffic violation or engage in an unsafe driving maneuver that you think caused the accident, you should disclose this information to the officer. Any signs of substance impairment also should be disclosed to the investigating officer, such as the odor of alcohol on the other driver's breath, lack of coordination, slurred speech, open containers or other potential signs of impairment. This information might contribute toward establishing probable cause for a DUI arrest.
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver, contact our experienced Atlanta drunk driving injury lawyers at Montlick & Associates to learn about your legal rights to compensation, and the steps that need to be taken to protect those rights.
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Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and inthe Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.