At Jones & Swanson, our attorneys represent many different clients in automobile accident cases. Each claim is different from the others, though, for a variety of reasons. Some of the claims involve victims who were injured by drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel. These types of claims in which a driver can be proven to be under the influence when the accident occurred can be worth more from a recovery standpoint.
The reason for this is that when a case goes to trial, punitive damages and the anger and sympathy from a jury often leads to a more favorable recovery amount than in other circumstances. This is because the at-fault driver chose to drive while intoxicated, therefore choosing to put others at risk. Georgia law allows those injured in auto crashes to recover monetarily for compensatory damages like lost wages and medical bills. It also allows recovery for punitive damages, which serve the purpose of punishing the at-fault party so that they are less likely to repeat the offense. A financial incentive is one of the most effective means of encouraging someone to improve their behavior. Jury members do not typically look kindly on those who choose to drive after consuming drugs, beer, or liquor. For this reason, the recovery amount in Georgia DUI crashes is often significantly higher than in those involving a truly accidental automobile wreck.
Steps to Take If You Believe You Are Involved in a DUI Crash
The first step in this process begins at the scene of the crash. If you believe the at-fault driver has been drinking or taking drugs, you should inform the responding law enforcement officials as soon as possible. Police officers can sometimes be fooled, so it is important that you voice your concerns and let them know what actions caused you to believe the other driver was under the influence. Signals that a driver may have been under the influence include putting a breath mint or gum in their mouth to mask smells, hiding or throwing items away quickly, or pouring out liquids from their vehicle (such as beer). These actions should be reported to the responding police officer immediately. If the other driver makes suspicious comments or attempts to persuade you not to call the police, you should persist in getting a police report filed. When officers arrive, let them know what the driver said or did to persuade you not to call them. At-fault drivers may even plan on your sympathies to keep from getting into trouble, but your first priority should be to protect yourself.
The reason that you should report these activities to law enforcement officials is that they will often include this information in the police report. If you bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, there will be more credibility to your story if these things are noted in the report filed by the police officer.
If you have questions about what to do following a car wreck in the metro-Atlanta area, contact Jones & Swanson right away to receive free advice from an experienced injury attorney. Attorney Andrew Jones has worked with auto accident victims for over 20 years, so he understands what you’re going through and will provide as much help as possible. We offer free consultations at (770) 427-5498 and via our online web form.