Drunk driving accidents are some of the most destructive accidents on the road. While alcohol and drugs may make a person feel like they are invincible, it is often the victim on the other end of the crash that ends up paying the price. Alcohol reduces brain function, judgment, reaction time, and motor skills, leading to accidents occurring at high speeds or even wrong-way crashes.
These types of accidents result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries. According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were 375 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2018. That’s up from the previous year and represents 25 percent of Georgia’s total traffic-related deaths.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by an impaired driver, you understand the consequences of this type of reckless behavior. At Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., we understand that you have been forced to change your life in response to devastating injuries you are now contending with. Not only have you been physically hurt, but you have also probably been financially hurt, as well, now that the medical bills are rolling in. Hold impaired drivers accountable for their thoughtless and negligent actions and recover the compensation you deserve.
The Carrolton DUI car accident lawyers of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. take a firm stance when it comes to protecting the rights of victims. Call (770) 205-8827 to schedule a free case evaluation and discuss what legal options are open to you.
The Case Against Driving While Impaired
Since before we even learn to drive, we are taught that there are inherent dangers to drinking and driving. High schools have outreach programs meant to show teens the consequences of driving while impaired, and while shocking, some of those lessons don’t always sink in. Some people don’t fully understand the impact that alcohol can have on the human body and how it affects our ability to carry out even the simplest of tasks.
One of the most common excuses impaired drivers will pull out is, “I’m fine, I don’t feel drunk.” Or, “I only had a couple, I thought I was just buzzed, I’m fine to drive.” Cutting edge research studies are finding that many drivers are often much drunker than they think and that it doesn’t take many drinks to significantly impact a driver’s thought process and reaction time.
After only two standard drinks, alcohol can cause a decline in visual functions and loss of judgment. At three drinks, the body’s coordination is impaired, and there is a reduced ability for the eyes to track moving objects. At four drinks, which correlate to a blood alcohol concentration of .08%, there is a reduced ability to concentrate, short-term memory loss, and impaired perception and self-control. Beyond that point, there is an even clearer degradation of reaction time and motor control, more substantial vision impairment, and loss of balance. All these skills are vital for safely operating a motor vehicle.
Drunk driving accidents are severe and devastating in their consequences because a driver’s ability to function and perceive hazards and threats is so impaired that they can’t react properly to road conditions. For the unfortunate motorist that crosses paths with an impaired driver, their life may be forever altered because of someone else’s reckless judgment.
Common Injuries in DUI Accidents
Injuries from a drunk driving accident can be particularly severe. That’s because drunk drivers don’t have the physical or mental capacity to react appropriately to their surroundings and new situations. A drunk driver may not be able to brake in time to keep themselves from slamming into another car, or they may not attempt to brake at all.
DUI accidents can involve high speeds and multiple vehicles. Drunk drivers tend to cause more rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, wrong-way crashes, and pedestrian accidents. While all accidents have their own unique set of circumstances, in general, these types of car accidents tend to cause the most devastation and serious, even life-threatening injuries.
Some of the more common injuries associated with drunk driving accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Head, neck, and spine injuries
- Broken bones
- Chest and rib injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Soft tissue damage
- Cuts and bruises
- Wrongful death
Not only are these types of injuries life-changing physically, but they can also be life-changing financially. Serious injuries can require lengthy hospital stays, surgical intervention, and extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation. They may even require changes to be made to your home to accommodate your new normal for the time being.
You are now being forced to cope with physical pain and injuries, the high financial cost of treating your injuries, and the taxing emotional toll a traumatic event like this can take on your mental health. You have enough to worry about – medical bills should be the least of your concern right now. An experienced DUI attorney can help you recover the compensation you rightly deserve following an impaired driving accident.
Georgia DUI Laws
Georgia state laws prohibit anyone from being in physical control of a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol. If a driver is caught with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher or with any amount of marijuana or illegal drugs in their system, they can be charged with a DUI. All convicted DUI offenders in the state of Georgia are placed on probation for 12 months, less any time served in jail.
All convicted drivers must also complete an alcohol and drug clinical evaluation and follow recommended treatment programs. If a driver is convicted of DUI and had minor children in the car with them at the time of impairment, they can also face charges of child endangerment, which can add both jail time and fines to other DUI penalties.
As in most states, Georgia has tiers of DUI offenses that carry a range of penalties, depending on how many prior DUI convictions a driver has on their record. In general, those penalties are laid out as follows:
- 10 days to 12 months in jail
- Fines of $300 to $1,000
- Minimum of 20 hours of community service if BAC was .08% or higher
- 90 days to 12 months in jail
- Fines of $600 to $1,000
- Minimum of 30 days of community service
- 20 days to 12 months in jail
- Fines of $1,000 to $5,000
- Minimum of 30 days of community service
Drivers convicted of DUI offenses also face losing their driver’s license based on the number of prior convictions. A first offense driver can have their license suspended for 12 months, but if they complete a DUI education program and pay a reinstatement fee, they can get their license back after 120 days. A driver on their third DUI offense will face permanent revocation of their license but can apply for a probationary license after waiting for three years. Any convicted DUI driver who caused an injury or death in an accident faces a three-year suspension of their license, and the driver will become ineligible to apply for early reinstatement.
Georgia law also states that drivers on the road have implicitly given their consent to alcohol and drug testing. This can be in the form of breath, blood, or urine tests. Any driver who is suspected of driving under the influence, but refuses to submit to testing, can have their driver’s license suspended.
Criminal Versus Civil DUI Matters
There is an important legal distinction to make when it comes to DUI cases. DUI is illegal, which means it can carry criminal penalties. However, if you were injured in a DUI accident, you also have the right to pursue civil action, which is separate from a criminal case and is meant to help you recover compensation for your injuries and suffering.
A criminal case is meant to punish an individual for committing a crime and breaking the law. A civil case is a way for injured parties to hold the negligent driver accountable for their actions by attempting to recover monetary compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
By contacting an attorney experienced with handling impaired driving cases, you are ensuring that you have someone on your side willing to protect your rights and seek out maximum compensation for your injures. A driver who is facing DUI has their own problems to worry about; they aren’t thinking about your needs. Their insurance company is hoping they can make you go away quietly with the smallest settlement possible.
An attorney will work hard to make sure that you are getting what you are entitled to following an accident with an impaired motorist. Their reckless actions may have changed your life forever – don’t be afraid to contact an attorney and seek the money you and your family deserve.
Contact an Experienced Carrollton Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in an impaired driving accident, chances are you are experiencing a wide range of emotions, from anger to anxiety. The Carrollton DUI accident attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. understand that you are going through a very traumatic time and need compassionate counseling regarding your situation and legal options. We want to take the time to get to know you and lay out all the legal options that are appropriate for your situation.
A drunk driver has already shattered your life physically. Don’t let them get away with ruining your life financially too. Let Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. help you recover the damages you are entitled to. Contact us today at (770) 205-8827 to schedule your no-obligation case evaluation.