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What Happens if You’re a Victim of a Drunk Driving Accident

— October 23, 2020

When you look for a personal injury lawyer, seek out someone who has experience with representing victims of drunk driving accidents.

Drunk driving is an epidemic throughout the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, each day, nearly 30 people die in drunk driving crashes, which equates to one person every 50 minutes, or more than 10,000 people every year. About 800 people become injured in drunk driving crashes every day as well. 

In one study, it was found that among all 50 states, Georgia ranked 23rd for drunken driving rates in 2018; there were 308.7 DUI-related arrests per 100,000 people. 

If a drunk driver injured you, or a loved one was injured or killed, you may be entitled to compensation. Since drunk drivers tend to speed, drive in the wrong lane, blow through stop signs and lights and behave in other reckless ways, they may cause more damage than someone who was simply distracted while driving, for instance. If the accident occurred at night, the driver’s vision may have been even more impaired than it already was due to the amount of alcohol in their system.

It’s a tragedy when a drunk driver gets on the road and injures or kills someone. If you’re experiencing an injury or mourning the loss of a family member due to a drunk driving accident, it’s best to take the time to focus on your healing and protect and comfort your other family members. At the same time, you may want to pursue legal action. Here are some reasons why that may be the best choice you could make at this time. 

You Could Receive a Settlement to Cover Bills 

Whether you’re dealing with an injury or a death in the family, if you enter into a lawsuit with the drunk driver, you could get a settlement. This settlement may cover:

  • Your medical bills
  • Funeral costs
  • Your car repair bills
  • Wages you/your loved one lost 
  • Pain and suffering you experienced

Medical Bills 

In terms of your medical bills, you may have to pay thousands of dollars over the course of your lifetime depending on what kind of injuries you sustained. The bills could very well reach into the millions if you have a spinal cord injury. According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, the average lifetime costs for Paraplegia ASIS ABC can be $2,310,104 if you were injured at 25 years old, or $1,516,052 if you were injured at 50 years old.

Image of a Doctor Looking at an X-Ray
Doctor Looking at an X-Ray; image courtesy of via Unsplash,

Even if you are only experiencing a muscle sprain or whiplash, you’ll still need to take the time to go to the doctor for multiple appointments until you get better. The pain can come and go and manifest in different ways, interrupting your daily life in the process. And since healthcare costs are so high, you could easily pay thousands for care. 

When the drunk driver hit you, their insurance may have offered you a low settlement that wouldn’t pay for all your bills. If you have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side, then you could get a settlement that will actually cover your bills in the short and long term. 

Funeral Costs

A lawyer can also assist you with procuring a settlement to cover funeral expenses. The average funeral can cost between $7,000 and $12,000. If your loved one who was killed was young, they may not have left behind money to pay for their funeral costs. Without a settlement, you’d have to come out of pocket, adding even more stress to an already incredibly tough situation.

Car Repair Bills 

A settlement could cover your car repair bills, too. Your car may have been totaled in a drunk driving accident; with a settlement, you could potentially purchase a new car. If your car needs minor repairs, the settlement could cover those, too. 

Wages You or a Loved One Lost 

You may have had to call out of work to go to the doctor and treat your injuries or take care of final arrangements for your loved one. Additionally, your loved one might have provided for your family, and now you’re left scrambling because you don’t make enough money. 

A settlement could help you recoup some of the wages you lost as well as the wages lost due to the fact that your loved one’s life was cut short. For instance, if a woman’s husband is killed in a crash and he was only 45 years old, then the lawyer could calculate all the money he would have made and bonuses and benefits he would have gotten had he survived. 

Pain and Suffering You Experienced

It’s hard to calculate pain and suffering. However, personal injury lawyers can assist you in coming up with a number that you’re comfortable with. They will look at factors like the pain you experienced because you lost your loved one, and they may not be around to help you with your children. If you were injured in the accident and can no longer work at your job – which you love – then that could be taken into account as well.

Can You Sue a Bar or Just the Driver?

You can absolutely bring a lawsuit against a drunk driver who harmed you or a loved one. But you may also be able to bring a lawsuit against a third-party, like a bar.

Georgia allows you to utilize the dram shop law, which means you can go after a bar, restaurant or a private party who either:

  • Served alcohol to a minor who was under 21 years old
  • Served alcohol to someone who was over the age of 21 and visibly intoxicated

It can be extremely difficult to provide that the dram shop law was at play, but it should be taken into consideration, especially if the person who was drunk driving was a minor. If an adult served them alcohol knowing they were a minor, you might be able to involve that adult in the lawsuit. 

What Should You Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer? 

When you look for a personal injury lawyer, seek out someone who has experience with representing victims of drunk driving accidents. You should be able to contact your lawyer at your convenience and have your questions answered in a timely manner. The person you hire should make you feel like you’re in good hands and may be able to get you the settlement you deserve.

Finding a Personal Injury Lawyer in Georgia 

If you were the victim in a drunk driving accident, you could be entitled to compensation. To find out what a personal injury lawyer can do for you, contact Atlanta personal injury attorney Winston Briggs today.

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