Drunk driving is dangerous and puts everyone on the road in danger. When you’re involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, it can be frustrating. Georgia is an at-fault state, meaning that the driver who is at fault for the crash has to pay for damages. Many people assume that a drunk driver is automatically at fault in an accident, but this is not always true. You have to prove that the other driver was under the influence and that their recklessness or negligence led to the accident.
The Difference Between Fault and Breaking the Law
Drunk driving is illegal and puts people in danger. It can be difficult to understand why driving under the influence is not enough to consider the driver at fault. Though the driver will be arrested, charged, and likely convicted of drunk driving in criminal court, that doesn’t mean they are at fault for the accident in civil court.
When you file an auto insurance or personal injury claim, you have to prove that being under the influence caused the accident. In some situations, drunk drivers may behave in ways that sober drivers would have acted.
Because insurance providers will find any way they can to avoid paying you compensation, they may try to prove the drunk driver was not fully to blame for the accident. It’s useful to work with a drunk driving accident attorney who can argue for the compensation you deserve.
Proving the Driver Was Under the Influence
In many cases, this is easier than proving fault. Under state law, it is illegal for a person to control a vehicle if:
- Their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher
- They were driving a commercial vehicle with a 0.04% BAC
- They were under 21 and had a 0.02% BAC
- They were under the influence of any drug, alcohol, or controlled substance
- They had any amount of illegal drugs like marijuana after taking a chemical test
A conviction can be used as evidence that the driver was under the influence and at least partially at fault for the accident. However, you and your attorney must still prove that the accident was caused by the driver being under the influence.
How to Determine Fault in a Drunk Driving Accident
To prove the drunk driver is liable for the damages in the accident, you have to show:
- Negligence. This can be proven by actions such as traffic infractions, swerving, speeding, or aggressive driving that directly caused the accident. It shows a failure of the duty of care drivers owe to others on the road.
- Cause. You have to prove the actions the drunk driver took were what caused the accident. A drunk driver can be behaving recklessly, but the other driver can violate traffic rules despite being sober, and that may have been what caused the collision. The drunk driver would not be held liable in that case even if they were driving negligently.
Comparative Fault in Drunk Driving Claims
Comparative fault means that both parties are partially responsible for the accident. A driver may wrongly believe that because the other driver was drunk, the other driver is fully responsible for the accident. However, if you are found to have been negligent or took an action that caused the accident, you may be found partially at fault.
Your compensation in a personal injury or insurance claim will be reduced by the same percentage you were at fault for.
Legal Advocacy for Your Atlanta Drunk Driving Accident
After you’ve been in a car accident with a drunk driver, you want to speak with an attorney who is experienced with cases like yours. You may be dealing with medical bills, pain from an injury, trauma, and lost income. It can be stressful to negotiate with insurance providers and navigate the legal system on top of this. When you work with a drunk driving accident attorney, they can deal with insurance providers on your behalf and work to lessen your percentage of fault. Contact Lamar Law Office, LLC today to see how we can help with your claim.