From the moment someone turns the ignition in their vehicle to the moment they shut it off again, every driver in Georgia assumes a responsibility to act reasonably and safely while their vehicle is in motion. This obligation is meant to protect other drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists from avoidable harm—and driving while intoxicated is a clear-cut violation of that duty.
Drunk driving accidents in Zebulon cause immense harm to far too many individuals each year, and if you recently were hurt in one, you may have important legal options for recovery available to you. A compassionate car accident attorney could discuss your unique situation with you, help collect evidence to support a claim, and demand fair restitution on your behalf for all your crash-related losses.
How Does State Law Define Drunk Driving?
Georgia state law includes two definitions for driving under the influence, commonly referred to as “DUI” and “DUI per se.” A DUI is essentially a judgement call by a police officer who pulls someone over under the suspicion that they are driving drunk, or who responds to the scene of a car accident. If that officer determines that someone was under the influence of an intoxicating substance to the degree that they could not safely operate their vehicle, they may charge that person with a DUI offense.
Alternatively, anyone who has a measured blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher at any point while actively operating or immediately after operating a motor vehicle has committed “DUI per se.” In other words, law enforcement authorities can assume they were impaired even if they do not show obvious outward signs of impairment. Both forms of the DUI charge levied against a driver involved in a drunk driving accident in Zebulon could serve as evidence of negligence by that driver.
Holding a Drunk Driver Accountable for Injuries
Civil claims against drunk drivers for injuries stemming from an accident will proceed separately from any criminal or administrative proceedings that the driver may end up facing for their actions. This means that the outcome of a criminal case for DUI charges has no bearing on the outcome of a related civil claim. Intoxicated drivers can still bear civil liability for an auto accident in Zebulon even if they are found not guilty of DUI in criminal court.
Driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated constitutes a breach of the duty that says all drivers have to act reasonably behind the wheel and obey applicable state laws. Therefore, if a drunk driver directly causes a wreck, they could bear financial responsibility for any damages stemming from that wreck. A lawyer might be able to help a person injured in a drunk driving crash in Zebulon recover for, among other losses:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost work income and/or future capacity to work
- Car repair/replacement costs
- Physical pain from injuries
- Emotional anguish, including lost enjoyment of life
It is important for a plaintiff to explain the effects that the accident has had on their life in order to make the case for certain non-economic damages.
Ask a Zebulon Attorney for Help After a Drunk Driving Accident
Even if you know that someone else was intoxicated immediately prior to injuring you in a car wreck, there are still numerous obstacles that could hinder your efforts to seek comprehensive civil recovery. You will still need to ensure you meet applicable filing deadlines, prove that you yourself were not primarily to blame for your injuries, and secure evidence beyond a police report to prove negligence by the person who harmed you.
Fortunately, assistance is available from a seasoned lawyer who has helped people like you through similar ordeals in the past. After drunk driving accidents in Zebulon, getting in touch with dependable legal counsel should be a top priority.