Marietta Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
No one can claim they don’t know it’s dangerous to drink and drive, yet people continue to do it anyway, as often as 30 million times a year. The fact that it’s so common is no excuse for doing it even one time, and drunk drivers can and should be held liable when they injure someone else in a drunk driving car accident. Marietta drunk driving attorney Ryan T. Strickland holds drunk drivers accountable to the people they hurt and recovers compensation to help car accident victims make up for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other legal damages.
Why are drunk driving car accidents so dangerous?
Drunk drivers don’t have the reflexes to avoid a sudden collision, and many times it doesn’t register with them that they are about to hit someone. They may therefore not apply the brakes or swerve, which could lessen the force of impact. Drunk drivers also have impaired judgment which causes them to drive especially dangerously, such as driving at excessive speeds, drifting out of their lane, or driving on the wrong side of the road.
Will the driver’s insurance pay if they find out their insured was drinking?
People sometimes think insurance companies won’t cover drunk drivers because they only cover accidents, and choosing to drink and drive is an intentional act. However, even when drivers consciously decide to drive while intoxicated, they never intend to crash into another car. The collision is always accidental, and the driver’s liability insurance should pay for the damage done.
What if the driver was charged with DUI but not convicted?
A drunk driving conviction can be very helpful in proving the driver’s negligence, but it is not required. Criminal and civil court cases operate under different rules, and it’s harder to convict in criminal court than it is to win in civil court. Just because a driver wasn’t convicted of DUI or even arrested doesn’t mean you don’t have a strong case against the driver, and you can still provide evidence the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.
Can I get punitive damages against a drunk driver in Georgia?
Quite possibly. Georgia law restricts punitive damages to cases where the plaintiff can show aggravating circumstances, including “willful misconduct” or actions that show an “entire want of care” that raises “the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.” Drunk driving might certainly fit into those categories. Punitive damages must be proven in court with “clear and convincing evidence,” which is a high legal standard. The Strickland Firm has the legal skill, experience and resources to pursue punitive damages in appropriate cases.
What about the bar that served the driver?
Many states, including Georgia, have so-called “dram shop laws” that allow drunk driving accident victims to sue the restaurant, bar or liquor store that supplied the alcohol. Georgia’s dram shop law can be found in section 51-1-40 of the Georgia Code. This law is fairly strict, however, and makes it hard to prove a case against the bar or restaurant. First of all, the statute starts by saying it is the consumption of alcohol, and not the furnishing of alcohol, that is the proximate (legal) cause of a drunk driving crash. The law goes does go on, though, to identify two specific instances where the supplier can be liable to the accident victim. Liability under the dram shop law is possible where the alcohol provider:
1) willfully, knowingly and unlawfully sells or serves to a person under drinking age, knowing the person will soon be driving; or
2) knowingly sells or serves a person who is noticeably intoxicated, knowing the person will soon be driving
Proving these facts against a bar or restaurant may be difficult, but at The Strickland Firm, we have the knowledge, skills and experience to put together a strong case for dram shop liability in appropriate circumstances. This can help you get the maximum compensation available while also helping to prevent similar drunk driving accidents in the future.
Help is Available for Victims of Drunk Driving Car Accidents in Marietta
If a drunk driver has injured you or a loved one in a Marietta car accident, call The Strickland Firm at 770-420-9900 for a free consultation with an experienced and successful Marietta drunk driving attorney.