A drunk driver may not only face criminal charges but also be held liable in a civil lawsuit for any resulting damages. Bass Law has the experience you need to ensure your legal rights are protected and your injuries are fully and fairly compensated if you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk-driving accident.
Unique Issues in Civil Cases against Drunk Drivers
When your automobile accident is caused by a drunk driver, there are some unique issues that arise which require the expertise of an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases. First, there is additional evidence to be collected including, but not limited to, the criminal arrest report, body camera footage, dash-board camera footage, toxicology test results and transcripts of 911 calls. Sometimes, the city or county police department will request assistance from a Georgia State Patrol officer with the investigation and, specifically, for administering field sobriety tests and roadside breathalyzers. Therefore, we often need to gather evidence from two separate departments. Additionally, we are generally unable to obtain certain information until the criminal case has been resolved; therefore, it is imperative to monitor the criminal case and to request pertinent information at the earliest possible opportunity. Finally, the statute of limitations (i.e. the date by which the case must be settled out of court or a lawsuit filed) may be extended in these cases, as the time runs from the date the charge(s) is resolved rather than the date of the accident.
Damages You May Recover Against a Drunk Driver
In addition to being compensated for your injuries, if you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be entitled to recover punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are awarded due to aggravating circumstances and are intended solely to penalize, punish or deter an individual. Punitive damages may only be awarded in Georgia where “it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to the consequences.” O.C.G.A. §51-12-5.1. While most automobile accidents that involve punitive damages are based on drunk driving, other accidents in which punitive damages may be awarded are hit and run collisions, fleeing the scene of an accident and accidents caused by texting while driving.
Other Parties May Be Liable for Your Injuries (Dram-Shop Law)
In addition to a claim against a drunk driver, you may also have a claim against any business who overserved the drunk driver under Georgia’s dram-shop law. To successfully pursue such a claim, we need to show that the bar or restaurant negligently overserved the drunk driver and knew or should have known that he or she would be driving soon.
When you hire Bass Law, you can ensure your legal rights are protected while relying on an experienced and compassionate Savannah DUI-accident attorney to represent you. Because we work on a contingency basis, your legal fees and litigation costs are paid out of your recovery. You only pay if we win! At Bass Law, we are motivated to recover the best result for you in the most efficient and effective way possible. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation.