Helping Clients After Injuries by a Drunk Driver in Duluth
The experienced Duluth drunk driving accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can investigate your case and determine if you may assert a claim for compensation and damages. If you are eligible, our legal team will work diligently to help you pursue the compensation you deserve, not only for your medical treatment and lost earnings, but also for the pain, suffering, and inconvenience that you had to endure as a result of your accident.
Even though most drivers are aware of the dangers associated with intoxicated driving, many drivers still choose to engage in that activity anyway. When motor vehicle operators drive their vehicles on roadways and busy highways, including I-85, while intoxicated, they significantly increase the chances that they will cause an accident that may leave others catastrophically injured or even dead.
Motor vehicle operators in Georgia can face arrest for driving under the influence – or DUI—if they appear impaired or have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that is 0.08 percent or more, as measured by a Breathalyzer. Different classifications of drivers must abide by different standards. For example, the BAC limit for drivers of commercial vehicles who hold a CDL, such as tractor-trailer drivers, is 0.04 percent. The BAC limit for minors who are under 21 years of age is 0.02 percent.
Drunk driving presents a serious hazard to all other motor vehicle drivers and passengers who are on the road at a particular time. If you or a person you love suffered injuries in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, you may file a claim or file a lawsuit for compensation and damages.
The Effects of Alcohol on a Motor Vehicle Operator’s Ability to Drive Safely
Alcohol, which is a depressant, can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely and carefully. The effect that alcohol will have on a specific person depends upon a variety of factors, including whether the individual consumed the alcohol with food, as well as the person’s individual alcohol tolerance.
As a depressant, alcohol significantly impairs the functioning of a person’s central nervous system and slows it down significantly. It can cause the driver’s vision to become blurry and can significantly impair a driver’s ability to react quickly to a situation that develops while on the road.
If a person operates a motor vehicle shortly after consuming alcohol, he or she may cause a collision with another vehicle—or with a nearby pedestrian. If the accident victim suffers one or more injuries, then he or she may file a civil claim for damages. In addition, the at-fault driver may be subject to criminal penalties, including fines, probation, and jail time, upon conviction.
If you suffered injuries in a motor vehicle collision that a drunk driver caused, the experienced Duluth drunk driving accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm are here to help. Our legal team will fight hard for your right to recover compensation and actively pursue such much-needed compensation on your behalf.
Types of Injuries That Are Common to Victims of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents that are caused by a drunk driver are often high-speed collisions. Being under the influence of alcohol may also cause a driver to lose control over his or her vehicle, resulting in a violent collision that leaves one or more drivers or passengers seriously injured.
Broken bones and traumatic head or brain injuries are common when a driver or passenger strikes his or her head on something in the vehicle at the point of impact. For example, the driver’s head may strike the window, the steering wheel, or the headrest, resulting in a serious head or brain injury. Abrupt forward and backward motions that happen quickly can result in soft tissue contusions and back injuries, including paralysis or a spinal cord injury.
Injuries that an accident victim suffers in a drunk driving accident can have very serious personal and professional consequences. For starters, the victims of these types of accidents are likely to require a significant amount of medical treatment, painful procedures, and physical therapy. The accident victim may need to undergo this treatment for months—and sometimes even years –to experience significant improvement and return to full functioning. In some accident cases, the accident victim may suffer a permanent physical impairment that he or she must endure for an indefinite period of time.
In addition, the victim of a Duluth drunk driving accident may have to miss time from work due to this or her injuries. In some instances, the injuries that the accident victim suffers may preclude him or her from heavy lifting or from sitting for long periods of time. When that happens, the accident victim may need to look for a new job or career—sometimes on a much lower pay scale.
The experienced Duluth drunk driving accident attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm understand the seriousness of the injuries that accident victims sometimes suffer in these collisions. Having us by your side will give you the peace of mind to know that your legal issues are in good hands—all while you recover from your injuries and receive the medical treatment and therapy you need to get better.
The Statute of Limitations Applies to Duluth Drunk Driving Accident Cases
Drunk driving motor vehicle accidents in Duluth fall under the umbrella of personal injury claims. As with all personal injury claims filed within the state of Georgia, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit for monetary damages and other compensation.
Two years is not a great deal of time, and if you do not file your lawsuit within those two years, you will lose the right to claim compensation arising out of your drunk driving collision case. The period of time is kept short to ensure that memories remain fresh in people’s minds and that witnesses remain available to testify about what happened during the accident and their observations.
In light of the short time period, you will want to retain our experienced legal counsel to represent you from the beginning. The skilled legal team of drunk driving accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm understands the importance of filing a Duluth drunk driving accident lawsuit within the statutory time period. We can help you file your claim or lawsuit promptly, allowing you to pursue the compensation you need that much sooner.
Filing a Lawsuit Arising out of Your Duluth Drunk Driving Accident
Some drunk driving accidents in Duluth settle without ever having to file a lawsuit. The attorney for the accident victim can negotiate with the liability adjuster on your behalf to try and reach a favorable settlement of your motor vehicle accident claim. The accident victim has the ultimate authority when it comes to accepting or rejecting a settlement offer that is on the table.
In some cases, it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit in the court system for damages. This often occurs when the parties reach an impasse, and the insurance company refuses to offer the accident victim the compensation that he or she deserves for the injuries he or she suffered in a drunk driving accident. Filing a lawsuit, in and of itself, does not necessarily mean that the case will go all the way to a jury trial.
Filing a lawsuit almost always means that the intoxicated driver will be a defendant in the case. However, at other times, you may file a lawsuit against one or more additional persons or legal entities.
For example, if the intoxicated driver was working for his or her employer at the time when the collision occurred and was on the job at that time, then you may name the intoxicated driver’s employer as a defendant in the lawsuit. The defendant’s employer may be liable under a vicarious liability theory of recovery, or the employer may have engaged in negligent retention, hiring, or supervision of the problem driver.
Finally, if the intoxicated driver came from a bar or restaurant where he or she had consumed alcohol, the accident victim may file a claim or lawsuit against the business under the dram shop laws. These laws prohibit eating and drinking establishments from serving more alcohol to an individual who is already visibly intoxicated. When they violate this rule, and the intoxicated individual leaves the bar or restaurant and causes an accident, then the business may bear liability.
When it comes to filing a lawsuit in a Duluth drunk driving accident case, you will want to make all potentially responsible parties defendants in your case. The knowledgeable Duluth drunk driving accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can pursue a claim for compensation against these parties and their insurance companies.
Pursuing the Compensation You Deserve in a Duluth Drunk Driving Accident Case
To recover compensation arising out of a drunk driving accident, you must first prove all of the legal elements of your case. If it is clear that the at-fault motor vehicle operator was intoxicated at the time of the accident, such as from breathalyzer evidence, then the accident victim may only need to prove the causation and damage elements of a Duluth drunk driving accident claim. When it comes to causation, the accident must be a factor in causing or contributing to the bodily injuries that the accident victim suffers.
Assuming that the accident victim can prove all of the legal elements of the Duluth drunk driving accident claim, he or she may be eligible to pursue and recover certain types of damages. The damages for which an accident victim may be eligible depend largely upon the type of injuries sustained, the nature of those injuries, and whether or not the injuries might be permanent.
Accident victims may recover compensation for medical treatment and physical therapy bills, medical procedures (both past and future), lost wages, and other similar out-of-pocket costs. In addition, the accident victim may have a legal claim for pain and suffering, emotional anguish, inconvenience, permanent disability, loss of family or spousal support, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of the ability to use a certain body part.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in a drunk driving accident, the knowledgeable team of Duluth drunk driving accident attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm will work to help you pursue the economic and non-economic damages that you need.
Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim Arising From a Drunk Driving Accident
If your loved one passed away in a drunk driving accident, you may pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are claims asserted against the at-fault driver by a surviving loved one who may also be the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
As part of a wrongful death claim, the decedent’s future anticipated lost wages may be recoverable, as well as compensation for the pain and suffering that the decedent experienced between the time the accident occurred and the time of death. Funeral expenses may also be reimbursed, as well as compensation for loss of the decedent’s companionship and support. The skilled Duluth drunk driving accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you with filing a wrongful death claim against an at-fault motor vehicle driver.
Duluth Drunk Driving Accident FAQ
How can your Duluth drunk driving accident lawyers help me?
It is no secret that drunk driving accidents are often terrible. When drunk drivers get behind the wheel, their vision can become blurred, their driving can become erratic, and their reaction time can slow down. Alcohol, the source of all of these symptoms, is a depressant that affects a person’s central nervous system functioning.
Drunk driving accidents can lead to injuries for motor vehicle operators, as well as any passengers who might be present in the vehicle. If a driver is found guilty of driving while intoxicated, they can receive serious criminal and administrative penalties, including a license suspension or revocation, fines, and even jail time.
In addition, if the car collision that was caused by the drunk driver resulted in personal injuries or deaths, the offending driver can incur civil liability.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a drunk driver, the knowledgeable team of Duluth drunk driving accident attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm are here to help. Our legal team will work hard to investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident and can file the necessary claims and lawsuits against those responsible. We can also help you pursue the damages that you deserve for your injuries.
What is the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drunk driving in Duluth?
The measurement of alcohol intoxication involves the alcohol concentration present in a person’s bloodstream at a given time. The measurement term is blood alcohol concentration or BAC. A person’s BAC is usually measured when a police officer or someone else administers a Breathalyzer test to a driver. In Georgia, a driver is per se intoxicated if their BAC is at 0.08 percent or higher.
Some drivers, however, have lower BAC limits applicable to them. For drivers who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher amounts to per se intoxication. Drivers who are less than 21 years of age have a 0.02 percent cutoff, which is effectively a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drunk driving.
In addition to incurring criminal penalties for drunk driving, victims can also sue intoxicated drivers in civil court if the drivers caused an accident that results in injuries (or deaths) to other motor vehicle drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. If you or your loved one sustained injuries in a motor vehicle collision that was caused by a drunk driver, the skilled Duluth drunk driving attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can help you take the necessary legal action against all parties who are potentially responsible for your accident.
Who can you name as a potential defendant in a Duluth drunk driving accident case?
If you sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident that was brought on by a drunk driver, first and foremost, you could bring a claim or lawsuit against the drunk driver. Motor vehicle operators owe a legal duty to all other drivers on the road to operate their vehicles carefully and safely. Drunk driving is a clear violation of that duty of care.
In addition to bringing a claim or filing a lawsuit directly against the drunk driver, an injured accident victim could pursue legal action against the driver’s employer (the person or entity that owns the vehicle). Taking such action is recommended if the intoxicated driver was on the job and was acting within the scope of their employment at the time when the accident occurred. When this is the case, Georgia law can deem the driver’s employer as vicariously liable for the negligent and unsafe acts of the employee driver.
Moreover, the law can hold the driver’s employer responsible for negligently supervising, retaining, or even hiring the driver in the first place, especially if the driver had a history of prior driving infractions. Employers have a duty to ensure that only safe and capable drivers are operating their work vehicles.
In addition, depending upon the accident’s circumstances, there can be dram shop liability on the part of a bar or restaurant owner. This liability exists if the establishment served alcohol to an individual who was visibly intoxicated, allowed to get behind the wheel of a car by the establishment staff, and subsequently caused an accident that injured someone else.
If that happened in your accident, then you can file a claim or lawsuit directly against the owner of a restaurant or bar that the driver had visited shortly before becoming involved in the motor vehicle accident in which you suffered your injuries.
The experienced Duluth drunk driving accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm will thoroughly investigate your accident and name all potentially responsible parties as defendants in any lawsuit they file with the court.
What is the statute of limitations in Duluth Drunk driving cases?
Plaintiffs and lawyers must file lawsuits within the filing deadline established by the statute of limitations in that particular jurisdiction. The statute of limitations that applies to Duluth drunk driving accidents states that an individual must file any lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident. If no suit is forthcoming within that two-year deadline, then the drunk driving accident victim waives their right to recover monetary compensation for injuries suffered in the accident.
Two years is not a very long time. Consequently, injury victims of drunk driving accidents must take legal action as soon as possible following their accident, to have the best chances of pursuing and recovering monetary compensation for their injuries.
The knowledgeable Duluth drunk driving accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm understand the importance of promptly filing drunk driving accident claims and lawsuits. We can assist you in bringing your legal claim or filing suit promptly and efficiently. We can then assist you throughout the litigation process to help you pursue much-needed monetary compensation for your injuries.
Who has the burden of proof in a Duluth drunk driving accident case? What do I need to prove to prevail and recover damages?
In personal injury motor vehicle accident cases that are caused by a drunk or intoxicated driver, the accident victim has the burden of proof. If the drunk driver was legally intoxicated (typically proven with chemical or Breathalyzer testing results), Georgia law can consider them negligent per se, in which case the accident victim does not need to prove fault. However, the accident victim will still need to prove that they suffered injuries and damages in the accident by a preponderance of the evidence. Moreover, the accident victim must demonstrate that these injuries resulted from the accident.
When it comes to proving the elements of an accident claim involving a drunk driver, you need evidence. First and foremost, the police report will often contain a detailed description of the accident scene, as well as a narrative description of the accident and who likely caused it. Moreover, if the police arrested the at-fault driver after the accident or issued a citation to the driver, the police report will most likely note that.
Eyewitness accounts of the accident and how it occurred can also be important testimony at trial. Eyewitnesses to an accident could testify that a driver was weaving in and out of traffic or otherwise operating their vehicle carelessly or erratically. An eyewitness can also testify that the at-fault driver exceeded the speed limit just before the accident.
When the extent of an accident victim’s injuries is at issue in a case, medical testimony can become important. For example, at trial, a healthcare provider can testify that a particular injury is related to a motor vehicle collision and can establish the necessary causal connection. Moreover, the plaintiff’s attorney can introduce photographs depicting the accident victim’s injuries to the jury at the time of trial.
If you or a person you care about is dealing with injuries from a drunk driving accident, the experienced team of Duluth drunk driving accident lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can help you prove all of the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit, putting you in the best position to pursue and recover the monetary compensation you deserve.
What is drugged driving?
Drugged driving, just like drunk driving, can result in criminal penalties upon conviction. Moreover, if a driver who is under the influence of drugs causes a motor vehicle collision with another vehicle, then an injured victim from the accident can sue the drugged driver in civil court for monetary compensation and damages.
Chemical testing, such as a urine or blood test, measures the extent to which a motor vehicle operator was under the influence of drugs. If a test reveals that a particular driver was under the influence of drugs at the time an accident occurred, the law can consider this driver negligent per se. In that case, the accident victim must only prove that they suffered an injury in the accident and that the injury resulted from the accident.
If a motor vehicle collision that was caused by a driver who was under the influence of drugs at the time the crash left you injured, you are entitled to recover monetary compensation. The knowledgeable Duluth drunk driving accident attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can help you prove your case and will pursue damages on your behalf.
Can I recover monetary compensation and damages following an accident caused by a Duluth drunk driver?
Individuals who suffer injuries in a motor vehicle collision that was caused by a drunk or drugged driver can suffer greatly. These accident victims can sustain a broken bone, a traumatic head injury, a spinal cord injury, a soft tissue injury, or an internal injury in a serious motor vehicle collision.
One reason why drunk driving accidents are so serious is that intoxicated drivers often do not have control over their vehicles. Consequently, they could be operating their vehicle at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of traffic, or otherwise violating the Georgia rules of the road.
If you can prove all of the legal elements of your drunk driving accident claim, you are eligible to recover monetary compensation. Potential monetary compensation comes in the form of damages that are awarded by way of a settlement or a verdict at trial. In some instances, you could have the option of pursuing alternative dispute resolution, such as through arbitration. In that case, the arbitrator assigned to your case can issue an award of compensation.
The monetary compensation and damages that you might recover in your accident case depend on how seriously you were injured, as well as the extent of your injuries. Generally speaking, injuries and disabilities that are permanent are more compatible than non-permanent injuries.
Some of the monetary compensation that you can recover in a drunk driving accident case includes compensation for medical procedures, medical treatment, and physical therapy. If your injuries were significant and you had to miss time away from your job, you or your lawyer could make a lost wage claim or a claim for loss of earning capacity.
In addition, you can recover pain and suffering damages for all of the suffering, pain, and inconvenience that you had to endure as a result of the injuries that you suffered in your drunk driving accident. If you can no longer use a body part after your accident, then you can seek monetary compensation for that disability. You can also seek monetary recovery for lost enjoyment of life, loss of family support, and loss of spousal consortium and companionship.
There is no doubt that a drunk driver can cause costly and life-changing injuries and losses. You want the right Duluth drunk driving accident lawyer who can help you hold that driver accountable for all the harm they caused.
Speak to a Duluth Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today
The experienced legal team at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you with pursuing the compensation you need arising from your drunk driving accident. For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with an experienced Duluth drunk driving accident attorney, please call us at (404) 418-8244, or contact us online for more information.