The willful negligence of drunk drivers contributes to untold pain, both to the body and to the wallet. If a drunk driver collided with you, you may be facing exorbitant medical bills for treating your injuries. Depending on the accident, you might have lingering symptoms for months, if not years. Yet, Georgia law has provisions that help victims of drunk driving crashes receive recourse.
How damages work in drunk driving accidents
Like most auto accidents, you will receive an insurance settlement after a drunk driver hits you. Yet, the offending motorist could face additional penalties, since driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime of its own. If the at-fault motorist received DUI charges, you can pursue punitive damages against them. You will not receive additional net compensation from these damages. Rather, they function to deter the driver from reoffending or to penalize them for their actions. In most cases, punitive damages cannot exceed $250,000. This cap does not apply to drunk driving accidents, and in some cases the damages can be higher.
You also have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, which may make sense if you need to pursue actual damages. Georgia recognizes two different types of actual damages – compensatory and general. You will want to pursue compensatory damages if your medical and vehicle repairs bills exceeded your insurance settlement, or if you lost wages as a result of the accident. And you will want to pursue general damages if the accident has left you with lasting pain and suffering or emotional challenges. Keep in mind that Georgia’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury suit is two years after the date of your accident.
The impact of drunk driving accidents
Most motorists are aware of the dangers that come with getting behind the wheel after drinking too much. Yet, if one dismisses these risks and collides with your vehicle, they must face consequences for their actions. By seeking legal help, you can work toward holding the at-fault driver accountable and receiving the damages you deserve.