A Look at Recoverable Damages from a Drunk Driving Accident

A Look at Recoverable Damages from a Drunk Driving Accident

Despite decades of trying to reduce accidents, injuries, and deaths from drunk driving, data shows that drunk driving accidents and associated injuries and death in Georgia continue to plague the state.

At Cheves Briceno, our dedicated team of accident lawyers in Columbus, Peachtree Corners, and Braselton understand the profound impact a drunk driving accident can have on victims. Under Georgia law, victims of drunk driving accidents are entitled to various types of damages. Here, we’ll explore five types of recoverable damages, the statutes that apply, and provide real-world examples of how these damages can impact victims and their families.

Drunk Driving crash

1. Medical Expenses

One of the primary damages recoverable under Georgia law includes medical expenses. This covers both immediate medical costs and future medical care related to injuries from the accident. According to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-7, victims can claim compensation for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred due to the accident.

Example: Imagine a pedestrian hit by a drunk driver. They suffer multiple fractures and require surgery, followed by extensive physical therapy. The pedestrian can recover costs for the surgery, hospital stay, medications, and ongoing rehabilitation.

2. Lost Wages

Victims of drunk driving accidents often face significant time away from work, leading to lost wages. Under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-8, victims can recover compensation for income lost due to their inability to work during their recovery period.

Example: Consider a delivery driver whose vehicle was struck by a drunk driver. The accident leaves the driver with a severe back injury, preventing them from working for six months. The lost wages during this period, including any lost earning capacity, can be claimed as damages.

3. Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering encompass the physical pain and emotional distress experienced by the victim. O.C.G.A. § 51-12-6 allows victims to seek compensation for these non-economic damages, which are often subjective but significant.

Example: A passenger in a vehicle struck by a drunk driver sustains not only physical injuries but also severe emotional trauma, including anxiety and depression. This passenger can claim damages for both the physical pain and the emotional suffering endured as a result of the accident.

4. Property Damage

Drunk driving accidents frequently result in significant property damage, for which victims can seek compensation. According to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-4, victims can recover the costs to repair or replace their damaged property.

Example: A homeowner whose property is damaged by a drunk driver who crashes into their fence and garage can recover the costs of repairs. This ensures they are not financially burdened by the irresponsible actions of the driver.

5. Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are intended to punish particularly egregious behavior and deter similar conduct in the future. Under O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1, victims can pursue punitive damages if the at-fault driver exhibited willful misconduct, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Example: In a case where a drunk driver with prior DUI convictions causes a severe accident, the court may award punitive damages to the victim. These damages serve to punish the driver for their reckless behavior and act as a deterrent to others.

Who Can Recover for Drunk Driving Accidents in Georgia?

Drunk driving accidents are commonplace, dangerous, and can impact a range of victims.  Victims entitled to recover for drunk driving accidents in Georgia include drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and even cyclists involved in drunk driving accidents. However, there are exceptions. For instance, if a passenger willingly got into a vehicle knowing the driver was intoxicated, their ability to recover damages might be limited due to their contributory negligence.

Cheves Briceno is Committed to Helping Victims Recover Max Compensation for Drunk Driving Accidents

At Cheves Briceno, we are committed to helping victims of drunk driving accidents secure the compensation they deserve. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case. Our experienced lawyers will fight for maximum
compensation, including taking your case to trial if necessary. Contact us today about your drunk driving injury.  With a free consultation we will learn more and help you navigate the path to recovery.

Your rights after a drunk driving accident are our top priority, and will fight for you every step of the way.

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