Articles Posted in DUI Accidents and Injuries

The state’s high court recently issued an opinion in a Georgia drunk driving accident. According to the court’s opinion, one of the defendants in the case was driving his cousin’s vehicle when he crashed into the plaintiff’s car. Evidently, the defendant was drinking with his cousin, when his cousin gave him his car keys and asked him to drive. The cousin knew that the defendant was intoxicated, did not have a driver’s license, and had a history of recklessness. The driver collided with the plaintiff’s car, resulting in serious injuries.

Following the accident, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the driver for negligence, and also the driver’s cousin for negligent entrustment. At trial, the court found that the defendants were acting while under the influence of alcohol and that they acted with willful misconduct, malice, and wantonness. The plaintiff challenged the punitive damages award he received.

Georgia law permits plaintiffs to obtain punitive damages in very limited circumstances. One such situation is in cases that involve intoxicated defendants. In these cases, the court will permit punitive damages to deter, penalize, or punish a defendant. Plaintiffs must establish by clear and convincing evidence that the defendants acted in a way that showed willful misconduct, malice, wantonness, and conscious indifference. Generally, Georgia limits the damage awards to $250,000, but there are exemptions in cases where the accident resulted from the defendant’s intoxication. The court may award punitive damages against an “active tortfeasor,” but not to other defendants in the action. However, the term “active tortfeasor” is not limited to drunk drivers.

Each day, 28 people across the country die in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2015, 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. In addition, almost 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in that same year. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), almost 40 percent of all fatalities in Georgia car accidents are alcohol-related crashes.Under Georgia law, a person cannot drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol or any drug to the extent that it is unsafe for the person to drive. A person also cannot have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within three hours of driving or being in control of the vehicle.

Victims of Georgia drunk driving accidents can recover damages caused by an intoxicated driver through a personal injury lawsuit. If successful, a plaintiff’s damages may include amounts for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, personal property damage, and potentially punitive damages.

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In Barnes v. Smith, a recent case in front of the Georgia court of appeals, a woman filed suit against the owner of a tavern in Rockdale County, Georgia. The woman was injured in a car accident with a drunk driver who had been drinking at the tavern. The driver drank at the tavern in the afternoon and returned at around 11:00 p.m. that night, when he drank half of a beer and another “Jager bomb” drink. The bartender who served the driver noticed that the driver’s eyes were glassy and that he was acting belligerent. She tried to take the driver’s car keys and offered to call him a cab or drive him home. The man refused. Then, the bartender tried to prevent him from leaving, but the driver was able to leave despite her efforts. The bartender did not call the police at any point.The plaintiff filed suit under Georgia’s Dram Shop Law, O.C.G.A. 51-1-40. Specifically, the claims were against the bar, the company that owned the bar, and the sole shareholder of that company. The plaintiff also alleged the tavern negligently trained and supervised its employees.

At trial, the bar and the shareholder moved for summary judgment, claiming that the plaintiff did not make out her claims and that the case should be dismissed. The trial court agreed and dismissed all claims against these two defendants. The plaintiff appealed the dismissal against these two parties. In a recent opinion, the Georgia Court of Appeals agreed with the defendants, finding that there was not sufficient evidence to prove the woman’s negligent supervision claim. The woman had to provide evidence that the business knew or should have known of the bartender’s likelihood to engage in the behavior that resulted in the woman’s injuries. The woman did not provide any specific evidence that the bartender required additional supervision based on her history.

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The plaintiff in this case was driving in her lane when the defendant was driving toward plaintiff coming from the opposite direction.  There were several witnesses who observed the defendant driving in an erratic manner.  For example, on several occasions, the defendant inexplicably stopped her car in the middle of the road and when cars behind her tried to pass, she would speed up and not allow them to pass.  Witnesses also observed her running a stop sign.  Soon after, the defendant driver caused a car wreck that injured the plaintiff and her passenger. Continue reading ›

Those who have been injured because of a car accident may be entitled to two forms of damages. A client can recover economic or general damages and non-economic, also known as special, damages. These damages compose two avenues for compensation in the average case. Each aggravation should be separated and addressed within the appropriate category. Your Atlanta personal injury attorneys, McAleer Law, can help clarify the difference between economic and non-economic damages and how both can figure into your case.

How Can One Accident Fall Into Multiple Categories?

Victims suffer damages that can be both financial and physically debilitating. When compensation is sought, an experienced lawyer should categorize the type of damage inflicted to put forth a case that will ensure clients receive all that they are entitled to by law .

As an adult, you’re faced with decisions ever single day. Some decisions have small impacts, like what to have to for lunch, while others have much larger impacts, like whether you’re okay to drive after a few drinks. In the United States, there is a death every 51 minutes due to someone driving while under the influence. If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, this should be a decision that is a no-brainer. Don’t drink and drive or you’ll face serious consequences that not only affect you, but your loved ones and other drivers on the road. In addition to putting yourself and others in risk of serious injury, there are several other ways that being convicted of a DUI will affect your future. Read on to learn more.

7 Ways a DUI Will Seriously Impact Your Life

1. If you have a DUI conviction on your record, it stays. Even after completing the terms of probation or a jail sentence, a DUI conviction will continue to be on your record.

Thanksgiving feasts and days spent with family mark the official start to our holiday season each year. According to the Department of Transportation, Thanksgiving is also the busiest time of the year, with more than 35 million people traveling by car to visit family and friends.

Combine distractions of a family road trip and an increase in traffic, and accidents are bound to happen.

Before you hop behind the wheel this Thanksgiving, check out our 10 tips for travel to ensure a safe and happy holiday:

Most every adult has had a drink and then driven a car at least once – especially in cities like Atlanta, where public transit is semi-reliable at best, and cabs are hard to come by. This does not excuse drunk driving. However, many times a sober driver who may have had just one or two drinks with dinner can be charged with a DUI.

In many cases, the officer has already decided if they are going to give you a citation before he or she even talks to you. One of the first things an officer is trained to notice is if you or the vehicle smells of alcohol. A good idea is to eat a small snack such as peanut butter crackers before driving to combat the “bar smell”.

Do not ever get out of your vehicle to take a sobriety test. These are designed for failure, and are hard to pass even if sober. Do not blow into a breathalyzer at the scene either. Oftentimes the machines in patrol cars are outdated and inaccurate. In the case that you are charged with a DUI, it is best to go down to the station, and then seek the help of an attorney. A skilled defense attorney will be able to lower your fines or keep the DUI charge off your permanent records.

A North Carolina jury recently awarded a young couple $1.7 million in a lawsuit against a local restaurant, Eddie’s Place.   On October 20, 2010, 25-year-old David Canter Huffman was speeding after leaving the restaurant and crossed over the center line and hit Matt and Meredith Eastridge’s car.  Mr. Huffman died in the crash as did the Plaintiffs’ unborn son.  Mrs. Eastridge was a front-seat passenger and was six months pregnant at the time.

Mr. Huffman had been drinking at Eddie’s Place and had a blood alcohol level that was nearly three times the legal limit.

Such a suit is brought under a state’s Dram Shop laws which are in place to protect the public from not only intoxicated drivers but also from bars, night clubs and restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages to guests who are noticeably intoxicated, knowing that these guests are  likely to be driving.

A lawsuit has been filed against  bar owner, Yassine Enterprises, by the family of a young woman who was severely injured in a vehicle-pedestrian collision. The family alleged in its lawsuit that the two bars owned by the company over served alcohol to the 22-year-old driver of the vehicle at fault. According to investigators, the driver of the vehicle drove while intoxicated and hit the young woman, the pedestrian, who was left with severe physical and brain damages after the crash.

The parents of the young woman filed the civil suit seeking damages from Yassine Enterprises. They accuse the bars of serving alcohol to the driver of the vehicle despite his obvious intoxication. He had been drinking, according to the lawsuit, from about 11:50 p.m. until about 2 a.m. The driver was served alcohol at two bars, owned by Yassine Enterprises, during that time and was allowed to drive away in a car in an intoxicated condition.

It is further alleged that as the driver approached an intersection in his car, he ran a red light and slammed into the young woman and two of her friends; the driver fled the scene and was later caught. The young woman struggled for life for three weeks in a hospital in a coma. After coming out of the coma, she underwent extensive physical therapy, but was left permanently disabled with little short-term memory and trouble communicating.