You might be able to file a lawsuit for an accident with a drunk driver if that person’s negligence caused an accident that injured you. You cannot automatically sue another driver for your losses if he was drunk at the time of the crash. His carelessness must be the cause of the wreck.
What We Have to Prove
After we investigate the accident to determine who was at fault, we can file a lawsuit for an accident with a drunk driver. To win such a personal injury lawsuit, we must be able to prove that:
- The defendant driver owed you a legal duty of care. This element is the easiest to establish because everyone who operates a motor vehicle owes the public a duty to obey the law and drive cautiously.
- The defendant violated the duty of care. Failing to live up to a legal standard is negligence. If a drunk driver passed out at the wheel and his car veered into your lane and hit you head-on, then the defendant did not obey the traffic laws and thus was negligent.
- The careless act caused the crash and your injuries. The accident happened because of the defendant’s alcohol-impaired driving. These facts satisfy the causation requirement for proving liability.
- You have quantifiable losses. We must be able to measure at least some of your damages objectively, for example, in the form of a physical injury.
After we gather the evidence to prove all of these elements, we can pursue a claim for compensation.
There Is a Time Limit for Filing a Lawsuit Against a Drunk Driver
You cannot delay in taking action against a drunk driver who hurt you in a car accident. Georgia law limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit in these situations. If you miss the deadline, you can lose the right to go after compensation.
To avoid missing these deadlines and to maximize potential compensation, it is to your advantage to work with a lawyer from the beginning filing a lawsuit for an accident with a drunk driver.
How the Criminal Case (DUI) Affects Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
The criminal case that the defendant might face will have little bearing on your civil suit for compensation. If, though, the defendant is charged with and convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol, that development can make your civil case a little stronger.
Still, you can proceed with your personal injury case even if the defendant does not get charged or convicted. You cannot control whether or not the prosecutor decides to pursue criminal charges, and it would be unfair if those outcomes diminished your right to compensation. So, as long as we can prove all of the required elements for liability, we can seek damages.
Damages in Drunk Driver Crashes
Every personal injury case is different, so we cannot say how much compensation you might collect until we talk with you and investigate the accident. However, some of the types of financial damages we have won for our clients in drunk driving car accidents include:
People often miss work because of injuries from a car crash. If you did not get paid during this time, we can add the income – ranging from lost wages, salary, self-employment, and other regular forms of income – you missed to your claim.
You can recover the reasonable cost of the treatment you needed for your injuries. This category can include the ambulance, emergency room, doctor appointments, hospital, surgery, prescription drugs, blood transfusions, physical therapy, and diagnostic testing.
Pain and Suffering
Almost all injuries involve an element of physical discomfort. Merely paying your medical bills does not do justice to what you suffered. Your physical pain and emotional distress can be compensable.
Other damages you can include in your claim must be losses directly related to your injuries, like disfigurement, long-term care, diminished earning capacity, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a spouse’s claim for loss of consortium.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
We treat our clients like family at S. Burke Law. We will work tirelessly to get you the compensation that you deserve to rebuild your life. You can focus on getting better while we take care of your injury case.
If you have questions as to how to file a lawsuit for an accident with a drunk driver, call S. Burke Law today at (404) 842-7838 for a free, no-obligation consultation.