Gainesville Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Drunk Driving Accidents in Hall County
At Hasty Pope, LLP, we believe that there is simply no excuse for drunk driving. Unfortunately, we understand the reality that many people choose to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol—often with devastating consequences. If you or your loved one was the victim of a drunk driver, you may be wondering what options you have and whether you can bring a personal injury claim against the drunk driver in addition to criminal penalties they may face.
The answer is yes.
In Georgia, you may seek financial compensation for damages incurred due to a drunk driving accident. This is separate from any criminal proceedings that may (or may not) occur. A drunk driving accident claim is similar to a standard car accident case, in that you can seek compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages by bringing a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance provider.
Holding a Drunk Driver Liable for Damages
Georgia law prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Those convicted of DUI face harsh criminal penalties, including possible jail time, steep fines, driver’s license revocation, and more. While these criminal penalties serve to punish offenders and help deter others from operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, they do little to assist victims of drunk drivers.
To that end, victims and the surviving family members of those wrongfully killed have the option of filing a claim or lawsuit against the drunk driver. A civil lawsuit allows victims to seek financial compensation for the economic and non-economic losses they have endured as a result of the drunk driver’s negligence.
To bring a successful drunk driving accident claim, you will need to prove the following elements:
- The drunk driver owed you a duty of care. In motor vehicle accident cases, this is generally assumed, as all motorists have an implied duty to act reasonably and avoid causing accidents and/or injuring others.
- The drunk driver breached the duty of care. This can typically be proven by establishing that the driver did, in fact, get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. It can also be proven using other factors involved in the accident, such as if the drunk driver ran a red light.
- You were injured because of the drunk driver’s breach of the duty of care. In other words, you must prove that the drunk driver’s choice to drive while intoxicated or their other negligent acts or omissions were the proximate cause of your injuries.
- You sustained measurable damages. These can be either economic or non-economic in nature and may include a range of losses, from medical expenses to future care costs to lost income/wages, pain and suffering, lost quality of life, and more.
It is important to note that the outcome of a criminal DUI case against the drunk driver does not necessarily affect your personal injury claim. However, if the driver is convicted of DUI, this can help bolster your case.
Third-Party Liability in Drunk Driving Accident Cases
In some cases, the drunk driver may not be the only one liable for your damages. Under what are known as “dram shop” laws, you may be able to file a lawsuit against a restaurant, bar, or similar establishment that provided alcohol to the drunk driver.
Georgia’s dram shop laws allow you to file a claim against a vendor if the vendor knowingly sells or provides alcohol to a person who is visibly and/or clearly intoxicated and that person goes on to cause a drunk driving accident. You can also bring a lawsuit against a vendor that willfully and knowingly serves alcohol to a minor under the age of 21. In either case, you will need to prove that the vendor knew or reasonably should have known that the person who was served alcohol would soon drive a motor vehicle.
Additionally, Georgia’s social host laws allow victims of drunk drivers to bring claims against individuals who provide alcohol to others in social settings under specific circumstances. You may be able to hold a social host liable for a drunk driving accident if you can prove that they knowingly and willingly provided alcohol to an intoxicated individual or minor and knew that the individual or minor would soon drive a motor vehicle.
What to Do If You Were Injured by a Drunk Driver
The first thing you need to do after a drunk driving accident is call 911. Stay at the scene and wait for paramedics and/or police to arrive. If you are severely injured, you may be immediately transported to a hospital for treatment, but if you are able to, get the name, contact information, and insurance information of the at-fault driver. You should also try to document the scene by taking pictures of the crash, your vehicle, your injuries, and other relevant details.
The next most important thing to do after a drunk driving accident is contact a lawyer. You could be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, future care costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. However, you may have a tough time collecting compensation without the help of an attorney, as insurance companies will often do everything they can to dispute or deny claims.
At Hasty Pope, LLP, our team of Gainesville drunk driving accident attorneys has over 150 years of experience and a proven record of success in complex motor vehicle accident claims. We can help you fight for justice and every penny you deserve.
Contact Us Today
If you were injured or if your loved one was killed by a drunk driver’s negligent and wrongful actions, reach out to Hasty Pope, LLP right away. We offer free initial consultations, along with contingency fees. This means you do not pay any out-of-pocket expenses when you work with our firm. Instead, we only collect attorneys’ fees if we successfully recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf.
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$9,000,000 Wrongful Death
Settlement of $9 million in September of 2019. This was for the family of a 20-year-old man struck and killed by a driver who crossed the centerline in Cherokee County, Georgia on May 18, 2018.
$6,000,000 Truck Accident
A tractor-trailer lost control and struck two motorcyclists, both suffered catastrophic injuries.
$5,000,000 Rear-End Accident
A female client was rear-ended at a high rate of speed in Fannin County, Georgia, a county in North Georgia. The negligent driver was following too closely and failed to maintain control of her vehicle.
$2,800,000 Dental Malpractice
A woman sustained permanent injury to her mouth and teeth as result of dental work performed below the standard of care by a dentist employed by a large corporate dental chain.
$2,500,000 Intersection Collision
A woman suffered multiple injuries including head trauma, multiple rib fractures, and a collapsed left lung when another car ran a red light and struck her vehicle in West Palm Beach, Fla.
$2,000,000 Intersection Collision
Our 76-year-old client, Sara, was on her way home from the salon. She was driving through an intersection on a green light when a young driver turned in front of her.
$1,735,000 Distracted Driving Accident
Our client was struck and killed on I-985 in Hall County, Georgia. Our client had pulled off I-985 to secure his load and was outside all lanes of travel.
$1,700,000 T-Bone Collision
A woman suffered permanent injury to her dominant arm after being involved in a collision at Davis Drive and Mansell Road in Alpharetta, Georgia.
$1,650,000 Accident on MARTA Bus
Our client sustained an injury in an accident in which the wheelchair ramp of a MARTA bus closed on her foot in 2016.
$1,300,000 Rear-End Collision
Our client, a 49 year-old small business owner was on his way home from a job when his life was forever changed - he was rear ended at a high rate of speed by a large construction truck.