When Hit By a Drunk Driver in Atlanta, Understand the Value Implications
One of the frequent questions we get as Atlanta DUI accident lawyers is “how much is my case worth?” While we have explored that topic before, one variant involves people that get hit by drunk drivers in Atlanta and the effect that has on case value.
The answer is, good evidence that the driver was under the influence can substantially increase the value of the claim. Why? For two reasons:
1. Practical Reason: Evidence that a Driver was drunk understandably angers the jury. The jury is more likely to award an higher verdict to compensate the injured plaintiff. (the injury needs to be legit though, no B.S. claims)
2. Legal Reason: Georgia law allows a party injured by a drunk driver to seek punitive damages to punish the reckless behavior. If the jury finds in phase 1 of the trial that punitive damages are appropriate, after they award an amount to compensate for the injury and lost wages, there is a punitive phase to the trial where evidence of prior DUIs and lack of remorse come into the case.
Examples of Elevated Case Values where Client was Hit by a Drunk Driver
41 year old male rear ended by drunk 22 year old in 2012 on way from Braves game. 22 year old plead not guilty to the DUI and charges still pending at the time the demand was submitted. Injuries were to lumbar spine. Property damage was over $7,000. Treatment included ER, some chiropractic and 3 visits to an orthopedic medical doctor. Some gaps in treatment as client is a conservative average guy. Total medical bills of $5,587. Settlement offer was $15,000. We filed suit and the carrier eventually paid $29,000. The DUI driver had no prior or subsequent DUI as verified by records pull. Without the DUI, maximum offer would probably have been $10,000.
34 year old male news anchor hit by DUI driver in 2012. High property damage. Injury to right wrist with ligament tear but no surgery. ER and orthopedic bills came to $6,900. No prior or post DUI on the defendant driver. Offer presuit was $11,000. Settled in litigation for $30,000.Value without the DUI would likely be around $14,000.
If you have a crash where you were hit by a drug driver, it makes good sense to consult with a lawyer to weigh the implications