Hospital Policy Could Impact Police, Prosecutors, and DUI Accident Victims
Recently, Wellstar Health System, a big hospital system in the state, announced a policy that prevents hospital staff from performing blood tests on DUI suspects who do not consent, even if police have a search warrant. The policy threatens to impact police, prosecutors, and DUI accident victims in DUI related cases across Cobb, Paulding, Cheroke and Douglas counties.
As of now, Wellstar will reportedly no longer draw blood from DUI suspects who are alert without their implicit consent. While a court order can compel the suspect to give blood, the order cannot force the hospital to draw it. Police express concern over the policy, stating that blood tests can be a crucial factor for convictions. The Cobb County Solicitor General believes that the hospital's new policy is in response to a recent surge in search warrants. The new chief magistrate allegedly issues more warrants than the old one.
The hospital has responded that it will do what it can to cooperate with police officers, but the policy is not in fact a new one. A hospital spokesperson told news outlets that the hospital has long required consent for the taking of blood samples. However, the hospital will continue to draw blood from unconscious suspects if police have a search warrant.
DUI Accident Victims and Blood Draws
While much of the public is focusing on Wellstar's policy as it affects police and prosecutors, the law could also have an impact on DUI related accident victims. When a car accident occurs that may have involved drugs or alcohol, it is imperative that police and other investigators obtain a blood sample as soon as possible to document the intoxication. Without this crucial evidence, suspects who have refused the Breathalyzer test may not be tested in time to provide evidence of DUI.
DUI convictions require prompt investigations and gathering of evidence. If significant time passes between the accident and the blood draw or other sobriety test, accident victims will have little to no evidence to support their claim that the driver was intoxicated. This could cost accident victims significantly, diminishing their claim as well as potentially leaving them responsible for the massive medical expenses, lost time from work and other damages stemming from the actions of the intoxicated driver.
Several police leaders plan to meet with the hospital in an attempt to formulate a new policy that would allow police more leniency in obtaining vital blood samples from conscious DUI suspects. Until them, all accident victims who suspect alcohol has been a factor in the crash should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to preserve evidence and protect their legal rights.
Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law: Justice for the Victims of DUI Related Accidents
If you are injured in an automobile accident that may have involved the use of drugs or alcohol, the Georgia Automobile Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, are here to help. Our firm has over 37 years of experience in the industry and we accept cases across Georgia and in the Southeast. The sooner you act after your accident, the greater your chances of obtaining a full recovery for your injuries. As such, seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, 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.