According to the most recent statistics on driving under the influence fatalities in Georgia from the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, alcohol-related fatalities on the state's roads and highways have recently ticked upward. This trend is alarming, especially considering how much money the state spends on education and awareness efforts to teach drivers, including teenagers, about the dangers of operating a motor vehicle while impaired. The evidence makes it very clear that getting behind the wheel drunk sharply increases your chances of getting into an accident.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident in Georgia or lost a loved one because another person chose to drive impaired, you may be eligible for substantial compensation from the at-fault party and their insurer. A Georgia drunk driving accident lawyer can help you gather evidence and pursue a claim.
Statistics on Driving Under the Influence in Georgia
Figures from the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety on alcohol-impaired driving fatalities include:
- 2016 - 368 victims
- 2015 - 258 victims
- 2014 - 279 victims
Not only were 90 more people killed on Georgia's roads and highways from drunk driving in 2016 versus 2015, but the more than one-third increase in deaths is also alarming. Given that the number of drunk driving deaths in Georgia actually fell between 2014 and 2015, we can only hope that 2016 was an aberrant result and not the start of a new trend in the other direction.
Nationwide, the numbers are even starker. Almost 29 people die each day from alcohol-related car accidents in the United States—that is one person every 50 minutes. And while drunk driving accidents have fallen sharply since the 1980s and 1990s (decades when more than twice as many people lost their lives each year from DUI accidents), drunk driving still kills more than 10,000 people each year.
Penalties for Drunk Driving in Georgia
Although a Georgia DUI car accident can lead to criminal penalties such as jail time and fines, it can also lead to civil penalties. You can face fines, lose your driver's license (even permanently if you have multiple offenses), and be made to pay restitution to those you injured in an accident.
To put it simply, drunk driving in Georgia is not worth the risk to your life and your freedom. Unfortunately, if the statewide statistics are any indication, too few people are getting the message.
Compensation for Drunk Driving Injuries in Georgia
In Georgia, car accident victims can recover both economic and noneconomic damages from the at-fault party. Economic damages refer to those involving actual financial losses. They include items such as medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and prescription drug costs. Noneconomic damages include items that cannot be quantified in dollar terms, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can pursue compensation from the impaired driver's insurance company to cover your economic and noneconomic losses. If the insurance company does not agree to compensate you fairly—or if the driver lacks insurance—you can file a civil lawsuit and seek compensation for your damages.
In certain cases, you might be eligible to recover punitive damages from the impaired driver who injured you or your loved one. Punitive damages are designed not to compensate the victim for any specific loss but to punish the at-fault party and create an incentive for others not to replicate their behavior.
However, understand that it can be very difficult to obtain punitive damages because it must be proven that the defendant intentionally caused harm or showed a reckless disregard for others on the road. Since many drunk driving cases are not the result of malicious behavior but of bad judgment and irresponsible decision-making, punitive damages can be difficult to obtain. However, your lawyer can examine your case and let you know what to expect.
Contacting an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer
The statistics on driving under the influence fatalities in Georgia displays the danger of drunk driving. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a drunk driving accident in Georgia, a car accident lawyer from S. Burke Law can take on the responsible party and their insurance company and fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve. Our firm has a long and successful track record of winning compensation for victims of drunk driving accidents, and we want to put our experience and resources to work for you.
To set up a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a member of the S. Burke Law team, call us today at (404) 842-7838.