Across the country, drunk driving accidents are among the most common types of collisions. In Georgia, these accidents often result in serious injuries and fatalities.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may be wondering what a personal injury lawsuit settlement could look like.
In this blog post, our experienced car accident lawyers will take a closer look at the average settlements for drunk driving accidents in Georgia.
Can You Get A Settlement If You Were Hit By A Drunk Driver?
If you’ve been involved in a drunk driving accident in Georgia, you may be wondering if you can get a settlement. The answer is yes – you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and other damages.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that all accidents and settlements are unique, and there is no guarantee that you will receive a settlement.
If you decide to pursue legal action, it’s important to work with an experienced lawyer who can help you understand your rights and options.
Is It Worth Suing A Drunk Driver?
Victims of accidents sometimes endure significant physical injuries and emotional distress, either immediately following the accident or even several months after the collision took place.
Unfortunately, some accidents involving drunk drivers result in the death of the victim(s).
That said, it is most definitely worth suing a DUI driver if any of this applies to your specific situation.
Thus, a personal injury lawyer will provide you with the assistance necessary to alleviate all of the financial stress and/or physical pain you have endured as a result of the accident.
Did The Driver Have Insurance?
If the drunk driver does have insurance, their bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD) liability coverage will cover your damages.
- Bodily injury liability coverage shall cover the following damages: medical bills/ambulance expenses, lost wages if you were unable to work following the accident, and any further pain and suffering related to your situation.
- Property damage liability cover shall cover all the damages and losses associated with your vehicle. This could simply be the expenses needed to fix the damage(s) to your vehicle, or the estimated value of your motor vehicle if it was completely totaled or flat-out unrepairable.
If the drunk driver’s insurance does not completely cover your damages – or if they have no auto insurance at all – there are alternative options to recover damages that may pertain to you.
Listed below are multiple options that may be available to you:
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage handles all medical payments and other expenses if you are hit by a drunk driver with no auto insurance.
On the other hand, underinsured motorist coverage will cover all bills and expenses when you are hit by a drunk driver who does not have enough insurance to cover all of your damages.
MedPay Injury Coverage
This type of coverage – most often referred to as MedPay – basically works the same as health insurance. However, MedPay is available to you if and only if you were involved in a motor vehicle accident.
This form of coverage will assist in paying to fix your vehicle or restore you with another motor vehicle if it is damaged or completely totaled in a collision.
Health insurance coverage pays for the health care costs you endured after suffering from a motor vehicle accident.
Oftentimes referred to as compensatory damages, actual damages aim to help a victim of a motor vehicle accident get back to the comfort and security they had before the accident.
It follows that the victim(s) must prove that they suffered losses or damages from the accident that aggravated their present and/or future overall wellbeing.
Examples include the following: lost wages, property damage, emotional distress, present/future medical expenses, and any potential destruction regarding relationships with family.
Punitive damages are paid by the defendant to the victim on top of the actual damages suffered after the accident.
Punitive damages attempt to apply additional punishment to the defendant, aiming to prevent them – and potential defendants in the future – from ever committing this type of negligence again.
Who Is Responsible For Drunk Driving Accidents?
Drunk driving is by far one of the most dangerous and common mistakes made by drivers every single day.
In fact, around 32 individuals per day die from car accidents involving drunk drivers in the United States.
Further, there have been 10,000-plus alcohol-related traffic fatalities every single year since 2016.
Listed below are all possible parties that can be held responsible for alcohol-related traffic fatalities:
Negligent behavior is defined as a failure to act in a responsible manner that someone with common sense otherwise would.
It follows that drunk driving classifies as negligent behavior; especially given the fact that the drunk driver’s behavior not only puts themselves in danger but the other drivers on the road as well.
Therefore, if you or a loved one were injured in a motor vehicle crash involving a drunk driver, you must prove in your wrongful death claim that the defendant’s negligence caused you or your loved one’s injuries.
Bars and/or restaurants may also be held responsible for the defendant’s negligence, although many factors are at play here.
Namely, if a bar or restaurant knowingly sells alcohol to an individual who is visibly drunk, that bar or restaurant may be held liable if said individual was to drive away and get in an accident.
As previously mentioned, there are a lot of variables at play for these situations but hiring a personal injury lawyer for something like this would be extremely beneficial.
Given the fact that bars/restaurants may be held liable for serving alcohol to someone who is visibly drunk, that would mean both the bar/restaurant and the intoxicated driver would be liable.
If this example relates to your situation, you will file a claim against the at-fault drive and the bar or restaurant to receive compensation.
At-Fault Laws That Can Impact A Car Accident Case
Georgia is an at-fault state, which is different from other states that are classified as no-fault states.
Since Georgia is an at-fault state, it essentially means drivers will have to cover any medical expenses or property damages that directly resulted from their own negligent behavior. Meaning that the most important factor in a car accident case is to establish which driver was at fault.
As for who determines which driver is at-fault and how that it is determined, once your insurance company is notified about the claim, they will provide you with an insurance adjuster.
The insurance company adjuster will use the following to determine liability:
- Accident/Police report
- Statements provided by both drivers and any potential witnesses (dashcam video if available)
- Investigating report regarding the scene of the accident
- Physical condition and shape of both cars involved
How Are Drunk Driving Accident Settlements Calculated?
When a drunk driver causes an accident, the victim may be able to file a personal injury claim to recover damages.
If the case goes to trial, a jury will typically award damages based on the victim’s medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.
However, many drunk driving cases are settled out of court. In these cases, the settlement is usually based on the same factors that would be considered by a jury.
However, there are a few additional considerations that may come into play when negotiating a settlement.
For example, the drunk driver’s insurance company may try to minimize the settlement by focusing on the victim’s contributory negligence. In Georgia, victims can only recover damages if they were not more than 50% at fault for the accident.
As such, insurance companies will often try to prove that the victim was partially responsible for the accident in order to reduce their liability.
Additionally, the insurance company may also take into account the strength of the victim’s case when negotiating a settlement.
If the victim has strong evidence against the drunk driver, such as eyewitness testimony or video footage, they may be able to negotiate a higher settlement.
How Is Pain And Suffering Calculated In Georgia?
The amount of compensation that a person may be entitled to receive will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of their injuries, the impact that the injuries have had on their life, and the willingness of the at-fault party to negotiate a fair settlement.
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you assess your case and determine what kind of damages you may be entitled to receive.
The Multiplier Method
This is a common method used by lawyers and insurance companies alike to determine the exact number of damages that shall be awarded to the plaintiff.
For example, they might add up the actual damages – property damage, emotional distress, present/future medical expenses, etc. – and multiply the sum by a number between one-and-five.
The number (also called the multiplier) may exceed five if the injuries/damages are extremely severe.
The Per Diem Method
This method is a little more complicated than the multiplier method. It seeks to apply a number that relates to daily activities – work, school, walking the dog, etc. – that are passed up because of injury. Every day is counted until the plaintiff is able to successfully perform those daily activities once again.
How Does Death Affect A Car Accident Claim?
Drastically. If someone in your family dies in a car accident, you or someone else in the family may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Situations like these cause significant stress and pain for those family members of the loved one who passed away. That is why it is imperative that you hire a personal injury lawyer to assist you in carrying out your wrongful death lawsuit.
Your attorney will work diligently on your case and provide you with the specifics of the case when necessary.
What Is The Average Settlement For A Drunk Driving Accident In Georgia?
It is difficult to list an exact number regarding the average settlement for a car accident in Georgia. Depending on the property damage to your vehicle and medical expenses you have incurred as a result of injuries stemming from the accident, your potential settlement amount can vary.
In general, however, victims of drunk driving accidents can expect to receive compensation for their medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and property damage.
If the accident was caused by the negligence of another party, such as a bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver, victims may also be able to recover punitive damages. If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident in Georgia, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer At The Fitzpatrick Firm For The Settlement You Deserve
If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, it is important to seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. The Fitzpatrick Firm has a team of dedicated lawyers who are ready to assist you with your case.
We understand the pain and suffering that you may be experiencing, and we will work tirelessly to get you the compensation that you deserve.
We will investigate the accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf.
Contact us today at (678) 607-5550 to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to helping you get the justice that you deserve.