Atlanta DUI Accident Lawyer
Drinking and Driving Often Result In Serious Personal Injuries
Collisions involving drunk driving often result in complicated insurance accident claims and litigation. Why? The answer is that drunk driving, whether the impairment is from drugs, alcohol, or both, usually results in: criminal charges for the at-fault driver, a significant collision (and, usually, a lot of injuries), and law enforcement involvement (in both the criminal and civil proceedings).
In recent years, our law firm has been involved in many cases involving serious injuries to clients resulting from DUI collisions. We have represented numerous children injured in drunk driving wrecks, the family of a country singer who was killed by an impaired driver while the singer was returning home from a concert, and an Atlanta DUI task force police officer who was struck by a drunk driver while on Interstate 75.
First, the drunk driver is almost always charged with a crime. This complicates a civil / injury action because, as most people who have seen law-related television shows know, the driver enjoys the 5th Amendment privilege. This constitutional right means that until the DUI criminal charges against him/her are adjudicated (that is a fancy legal word for “finished” or “done”), the driver doesn’t have to tell anyone anything about how much he drank, where he was drinking, what happened during the accident, or anything else. In other words, the impaired driver has a right against self-incrimination. Why does this matter in a personal injury case against the driver? [Notably, sometimes it doesn’t. If the cause of the wreck is clear, the driver’s whereabouts before the collision are verifiable via means other than asking him, and it is clear that he was drunk, then the future Defendant’s knowledge about the lead-up to the wreck and the wreck itself may not matter.].
But, and this is one of those important “buts”… there is often reason to want to know where the driver was before the wreck. Many times, DUI drivers are served alcohol to excess at social functions, restaurants, and bars. Georgia law imposes social host and Dram Shop liability in cases where the host/bar employees knew or should have known that the individual was intoxicated and likewise that he would be driving. If a person, company, or commercial establishment can be held legally liable for their role in causing the DUI wreck, this often results in making substantially more insurance coverage available in the related civil action.
Personal injury lawyers who handle civil/insurance actions against drunk drivers need to be skilled at: communicating with law enforcement (who usually possess vital information about the wreck), dealing with the DUI driver’s insurance company, handling the injured person’s insurance company (as underinsured, or “UM”, insurance coverage is almost always involved in serious injury DUI wreck), understanding Georgia law regarding punitive damages, and meeting with the client’s treating physicians and surgeons in order to fully understand the injuries caused as a result of the collision. Before hiring an injury attorney to handle your DUI accident claim, ask he or she: how many DUI injury claims have you handled? In what counties? What sorts of injuries have your clients had? What is the most amount of money you’ve collected for a client in a drunk driving injury case? When was the last time you represented someone who was injured in a DUI wreck? Can I call that person or their family for a reference?
If the lawyer can’t answers these sorts of questions to your satisfaction, you shouldn’t hire him.
Andrew E. Goldner has helped accident victims recover the compensation that they so desperately needed. If your future is on the line, do not try to go at it alone – work with our injury attorneys. You can reach us today for a free case consultation by calling our offices directly at (404) 869-1580, or by filling out our online contact form.