Drunk driving plagues the city of Atlanta. There were 20 alcohol-related deaths in Fulton County in one year alone. This is more than in the surrounding Cobb and Dekalb counties for the same year. Every year, thousands of people die in alcohol-related collisions throughout Georgia. These deaths are entirely preventable. They stem from the recklessness of irresponsible drivers. If you suffered injuries, or a loved one died in a drunk driving accident in Georgia, talk to Butler Wooten & Peak LLP. We have zero tolerance for drunk drivers and pursue compensation for these auto accident cases to the fullest extent of the law.
After a collision in which police suspect a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there will be a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or other chemical test. The results of the tests will show if the driver was legally intoxicated (with a BAC of 0.08% or higher) or if he/she had any trace of alcohol in their system. Drivers with any amount of alcohol in their systems can get into legal trouble if it’s enough to impair driving ability. If a driver did break the law by driving drunk, he or she can face criminal and civil penalties.
The criminal penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in Atlanta are up to one year jail time, $300-$1,000 in fines, and license suspension of up to one year. The courts may also order community service hours. These penalties increase substantially for subsequent convictions. While criminal charges are pending for a DUI driver, accident victims may file a civil court claim against the driver as well. A criminal lawsuit serves to convict the at-fault party for drunk driving and punish him or her for the unlawful act. A civil suit aims to compensate injured parties for their damages.
Pursuing a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver can result in substantial compensation for your injuries. While punitive damages are rare in personal injury cases, an egregious act of drunken driving may be enough to demand this compensation award in addition to other damages. There is a $250,000 damage cap on punitive damages in Georgia. The amount your case could be worth depends on the extent of your injuries and disability because of the accident. Filing criminal and civil charges can make the reckless driver take legal responsibility for his or her wrongdoing.
Sadly, many drunk driving accidents in Atlanta result in someone’s death. If an intoxicated driver killed your loved one, in a motor vehicle or pedestrian accident for example, you may have the right to bring a civil suit against the responsible individual. Georgia law permits a deceased person’s spouse to file a wrongful death claim if the “reckless, negligent, intentional, or criminal acts” of another person caused the death. Drunk driving falls within these guidelines. If the couple has minor children, the surviving spouse may also file on behalf of the children. If no spouse exists, the opportunity to file for wrongful death falls to surviving parents of the deceased or the personal representative of the estate.
Butler Wooten & Peak LLP has the power to file personal injury and wrongful death claims on behalf of clients in Atlanta. Our firm has won millions of dollars in verdicts and judgment awards for drunk driving claims. A drunk driver can change your life in a split second. You can’t change the past, but you can take control of your future with help from our attorneys. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.