The holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Years, is a notoriously dangerous time on America’s roadways, and 2020 has shown to be no different so far. One constant at this time of year, even for safe drivers doing everything right, is the risk of being struck by a drunk driver. Here are a few things to keep in mind if this happens to you, and important steps to take to prepare for insurance claims and a potential civil suit.
This is true of all accidents, but especially when it comes to an accident involving a suspected drunk driver. You should be prepared to provide evidence to police that could help a criminal case, such as a license plate number if the driver attempts to leave the scene, or potentially video evidence of the driver exhibiting behaviors associated with intoxication like slurred speech or trouble maintaining balance. A driver being intoxicated moves a simple accident into a criminal case, and should be prepared to have to act as a witness.
Accident aside, be sure (as in any accident) to visit a doctor if you’re injured and get documentation and receipts for any treatment required after the accident. Even in cases where the other driver is 100% at fault you’ll need to show specific damages in order to receive compensation, and this includes medical bills, auto repair bills, time required away from work to recover, etc.
Be Prepared to Deal with Insurance Companies
Being the victim in a case where the other driver was intoxicated can make things a lot easier when you’re dealing with insurance companies and lawyers, but that doesn’t mean that everything is going to be open and shut, or that the first offer an insurance company sends is going to be the best you can receive. In these kinds of cases, it’s quite advantageous to have an attorney who knows the ins and outs of dealing with insurance companies in these cases and has a good idea of what is and isn’t a fair offer given the facts of your case. Still, the insurance route is probably going to be the best bet for getting proper compensation, especially since insurance companies generally do not want to risk some kind of jury trial where people will tend not to side with a drunk driver, no matter the circumstances.
You May Be Eligible for A Punitive Damages
This generally hinges on the extent of your claim and the outcome of a criminal case, as Georgia law does not allow for punitive damages in a typical auto accident. But once the other driver has been convicted of drunk driving this opens up punitive damage claims of up to $250,000 in the state of Georgia. These damages can include both purely economic losses (auto repair, medical bills, lost wages) but also emotional pain and suffering. In addition, you may be able to seek compensation via Georgia’s Dram Laws, which can hold establishments liable if they serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated customers or anyone under the age of 21.
Long story short, there is a lot to deal with if you’ve been the victim in a drunk-driving accident, and you shouldn’t try to navigate it by yourself. We have decades of experience helping our neighbors in Woodstock, Georgia and North Metro Atlanta: reach out to us today so we can help you too.