Throughout the United States, drunk driving is a serious problem. The state of Georgia is no exception. Driving while under the influence is one of the leading causes of car accidents in our state. When your body is under the influence of a controlled substance like drugs or alcohol, your brain simply can’t process sights and sounds as it normally would. Reaction times crawl to a halt. Judgement calls come slower. Even a fraction of a second can matter when trying to avoid an accident.
Even when someone thinks they’re safe to drive after consuming a couple of drinks, it’s a simple fact that their body and brain are not capable of reacting as both normally would. People who get away with driving while intoxicated are lucky. But everyone’s luck runs out at some point. Unfortunately, it’s one thing to gamble with your own life. Gambling with the lives of everyone on the road around you, on the other hand, is against the law and unacceptable. If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, an Atlanta drunk driving accident lawyer can help you send that message.
Bey & Associates, LLC has helped those who were harmed because of drunk drives get the justice they deserve. We understand how the severe consequences of an accident can completely put your life on hold. When this happens because someone made a reckless decision to drive while drunk, you’ll likely want to hold the drunk driver accountable for their negligence. Our lawyers will stand by your side and fight for you to get compensation for your injuries and losses.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident with a drunk or otherwise chemically-impaired driver, you have legal options. By filing a drunk driving accident lawsuit against the guilty driver, you send a message stating that their actions were unacceptable and cannot happen again. Our drunk driving attorneys will look into the expenses and other damages you suffered because of the accident and we’ll begin gathering evidence for your claim. We’ll present a strong case so you get full and fair compensation.
Georgia’s Drunk Driving Laws
Many drunk driving laws differ from state to state. Here are some of the laws affecting Georgia residents you may need to be aware of if you’ve been involved in an accident with a drunk driver:
- Any time a Georgia driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, that driver is considered by law to be alcohol-impaired.
- The most common target for a drunk driving lawsuit is the driver who drove under the influence. In rare cases, however, that driver may be uninsured or underinsured. This can pose a challenge in Georgia courtrooms.
- For cases like the above, Georgia residents may impose liability on the general law of negligence or on the store, restaurant, or bar that sold alcohol to the guilty driver. The law that makes this possible is known as Georgia’s dram shop act.
- The dram shop act states that a liquor store, bar, or restaurant can be responsible for damages caused by a person’s drinking if alcohol was sold to an underage individual or to a person who was obviously intoxicated.
- Under this act, liability can potentially be attached to “social hosts” as well, which would include party hosts, gathering hosts, or an employer that serves alcoholic beverages at a company gathering, etc. In Georgia, hosts have a legal duty to ensure that no one consumes more alcohol then they can handle—unless they take measures to keep guests safe (Pirkle v. Hawley, 199 Ga.App. 371, 405 S.E.2d 71, cert. denied, 199 Ga.App. 906, 405 S.E.2d 71 (1991)).
Our Atlanta drunk driving accident attorneys are well-versed in the laws that will apply to your case. We’ll make sure your case is handled properly and is filed on time. We understand that while car accident claims are complex to deal with on your own, we’ll work diligently to stand up for your rights so you can get the justice you deserve.
How Serious of a Problem Is Drunk Driving?
According to the NHTSA, almost 10,511 people were killed in car accidents involving drivers who were under the influence of alcohol in 2018. This amounts to approximately one-third of all traffic-related deaths across the nation. Unfortunately, these accidents still persist even though they’re completely preventable.
Drunk driving has been an issue for years. Between the years 2003 and 2012, 3,699 people were killed in alcohol-related car accidents in the state of Georgia. Georgia’s average number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities tends to be lower than the national average (23% compared to 31% for the year 2011, for example), but in an era where we have more transportation options than ever as well as easy access to those options, these numbers are far higher than they should be.
Unfortunately, drunk driving is still occurring in large numbers. In 2018, 20.5 million Americans were reported for driving under the influence of alcohol. Any time this happens, the driver is putting everything at risk.
Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol doesn’t just affect how many passenger car accidents occur, either. One of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents and commercial truck accidents is intoxication. Anyone who enters a busy street or highway under the influence is potentially placing all over drivers, passengers, and riders at risk.
How Does Alcohol Impair a Driver?
Any time someone takes a drink and gets behind the wheel, they’re going to have reduced judgment and control than if they were sober. While the legal limit is a BAC of .08%, it’s still important to keep in mind that using a rideshare or getting a ride with a sober friend will be a safer option. Let’s look into how alcohol can impair your driving abilities.
While having a BAC of .02 may not seem like a lot, there is already an effect on your driving. At this level, you may experience some loss of judgment, feel relaxed, and warm. When you’re behind the wheel, this can affect your ability to track moving objects or to be able to do more than two things at once. That could be using your turning signal while slowing down for a turn. If you’re unable to do both tasks, you may forget to use your signal or slam on your brakes at the last minute.
At .05, your judgment and ability to focus have declined. You also are less alert, and your inhibition is lowered. This can equate to having poor coordination and adds to the losses experienced at the .02 level. You may experience difficulty with steering and have a slower response to emergency situations.
The legal limit of .08 has poor muscle coordination—your speech, balance, vision, reaction time, and other senses are affected. In this state, you will not be able to detect danger as quickly as you would if you were sober, and reasoning and self-control are reduced. You may also experience memory problems. When you’re behind the wheel, you likely won’t be able to focus on the task at hand. Concentrating on keeping your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, staying in your lane, and driving at the speed limit will be difficult. The ability to process information will be also be reduced, so noticing a signal from ahead of you or noticing an object in the road may not occur.
When you’re past the legal limit at .10, your reaction time, control, speech, coordination, and thinking all deteriorate. You’ll likely have issues with staying in the driving lane and won’t brake at appropriate times. This could result in swerving and changing speeds—which can easily cause a collision with other drivers.
At .15, your ability to remain balanced and upright is extremely reduced. Many people may get sick at this point. When a driver is at this point and behind the wheel, they’re barely in a condition to stand up straight. The ability to operate a vehicle is so reduced and the driver cannot take in the necessary visual and auditory information.
No matter what level the driver is at, any drunk driver can cause devastating injuries. These injuries can take a toll on your life financially, physically, and emotionally. With lawyers from Bey & Associates, LLC at your side, you can rest assured that we’re going to protect your best interests. An Atlanta drunk driving accident lawyer will look over the accident report, see how the other driver caused the accident, and the extent of injuries you suffered. We’ll seek to maximize your compensation so you’re able to get the treatment you need so you can recover in peace.
What Injuries Can Drunk Driving Accidents Cause?
Whether a drunk driver veers out of their lane, drives up over a curb, fails to stop in time, or is driving the wrong way on a street, they can cause terrible injuries that could potentially have consequences that will affect the victim for the rest of their life. Let’s look into some of the injuries that can occur after an accident.
- Head Injuries. A traumatic brain injury can occur in a car accident when the head is jolted or bumped. There can also be instances of debris from the crash penetrating the skull. These internal injuries can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
- Paralysis. If the spinal cord is injured, a car accident victim may lose control and feeling of limbs below the injury site. For example, an injury to the lower spine can cause loss of use in the legs.
- Broken Bones. While safety measures like airbags and seatbelts keep drivers and passengers in place to reduce the severity of injuries, bones can still be broken from the impact.
- Lacerations. Glass, metal, or other forms of debris can cause deep cuts in the event of an accident. If debris gets in the injury, there is a risk of infection.
- Burn Injuries. If flammable liquids ignite in the crash, the occupants could sustain severe burn injuries. This can cause nerve damage and may require surgery for treatment.
- Whiplash. If a drunk driver doesn’t brake in time, they could collide with the vehicle stopped in front of them. This may cause the driver’s neck to jerk back and forth rapidly, which can result in a neck injury known as whiplash. Headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain are all possible symptoms of whiplash.
After a car accident, it’s imperative to seek medical attention from a physician. They will record the injuries you have sustained, and the necessary treatment required for you to recover. You may feel that you don’t need to see a doctor because you don’t feel any symptoms. The shock and adrenaline after an accident can mask your symptoms and you may not be aware of any injuries until hours or days later. Your doctor will be able to assess your injuries and you can start treating immediately and not worry about having untreated injuries.
The costs of medical care can be extensive. When our Atlanta drunk driving accident attorney reviews your medical expenses, we’ll fight for you to recover compensation that will cover these costs and still keep up with other financial responsibilities.
Recover with the Help of an Atlanta Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
If you’ve suffered in a car accident with a driver who was intoxicated, you need a drunk driving accident attorney in Atlanta who can not only make sure you get the financial assistance your family needs, but that you make it clear to the guilty driver that getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is not acceptable. Lawsuits have the unique ability to force individuals to change their habits. Accident injury claims are also civil matters and separate from any criminal charges which may already be in place.
At Bey & Associates, LLC we care about our clients and provide quality legal counsel you won’t be able to find elsewhere. We fight aggressively for victims who have been involved in drunk driving accidents. We know that we, as a nation, can do better. For more information or a free consultation, contact our office.