Driving while drunk is banned in Georgia for the safety of all road users. Persons found alcohol-impaired behind the wheel face serious penalties, which can even affect their entire lives. Still, thousands of people put their lives, and others, at risk by driving when impaired. In fact, a recent study National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found that 11,654 individuals died in alcohol-related driving in a year. If your loved one met such an unfortunate end, you could file a wrongful death claim to get the justice you deserve.
Drunk driving in Georgia
In Georgia, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher for adults and 0.02% for people under 21. Commercial truck drivers, on the other hand, can be charged with DUI if their BAC level is as low as 0.04%.
Understanding wrongful death in Georgia
According to Georgia Code Section 51-4-1, wrongful death is “the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.” To file such a claim, certain family members must be alive at the time the lawsuit is filed. They include:
- The surviving spouse
- The deceased person’s child or children
- The parents of a deceased person who was unmarried and had no children
- A guardian or other representative of the decedent’s estate
If you are among these people, you’ll have to prove that the drunk driver’s negligence caused the death, and, as a result, you suffered damages, such as financial losses, loss of companionship, or emotional pain and suffering. This lawsuit must be initiated within two years of the victim’s death.
Compensation for wrongful death caused by motor vehicle accidents in Georgia is not capped. You could, therefore, be awarded a significant amount of money to help you through this tough time. The court will likely consider various factors to determine the amount of compensation, including:
- The victim’s age and health before his or her death
- The financial contribution the victim made to his or her family
- The pain and suffering endured by the victim before his or her death
- Emotional anguish suffered by the victim’s surviving family members
Besides a wrongful death claim, you can file a criminal suit against the drunk driver. If this person is convicted, he or she may have to spend time in prison and pay a fine.