According to the 2006 National Highway Safety Administration report, nearly 18, 000 people lost their lives in alcohol-related collisions in the United States. For this reason, many states have embarked on a relentless crackdown on laws regarding Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges. A victim of a DUI accident should consult an Atlanta DUI accident lawyer regarding the next steps to take to seek justice.
Anyone found guilty of the charges will face increasingly more severe punishments. Nowadays, police are more vigilant, and they pull motorists over for any suspicion of drunk driving.
Drunk driving is a crime
An impaired driver who is involved in a collision is not always liable for the damages. However, his or her impairment will significantly influence fault determination after the accident. Drunk driving is a crime, and therefore, there are criminal consequences, including jail time, license suspension, and jail time for those caught driving under the influence.
But is a drunk driver who causes an accident automatically on the hook to pay for the damages of the other driver? Not necessarily. However, the likelihood of finding an intoxicated driver guilty for the DUI accident is very high. Driver’s intoxication is a crucial factor that’s considered when determining fault.
Whose Fault Was The DUI Accident?
The fault is a pivotal issue in many car-accident cases (Assuming you are not in a no-fault insurance state). The fault is what determines the party – or their insurance company – is financially responsible for any personal injuries or damage resulting from the accident.
For purposes of legal responsibility, fault has three parts:
Duty of Care – Establishing that one party owed a “duty of care” to another is the first part of proving fault. Generally, it’s everyone duty to take reasonable measures that ensure they don’t cause harm to others as well as the property of others. In the context of driving, every driver must operate his or her vehicle with reasonable care at all times.
Breach – The “breach” component of fault is simple: A person’s failure to act as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances breaches the duty of care. In a DUI accident case, identifying what the other driver did – or didn’t do – that was unreasonable or careless is essential.
Causation – Establishing the “causation” element involves proving a direct link between the drunk driver’s breach of care and the injuries or damage.
How Does the Driver’s Drunkenness Factor In?
For a plaintiff, winning a lawsuit or claim is not just about showing the other driver was drunk. However, in most cases, proving the first two parts of fault – duty and breach at least requires establishing the defendant’s intoxication.
After all, your Atlanta DUI accident lawyer will have a compelling argument that the defendant’s drunk driving shows utter failure to exercise reasonable care. In jurisdictions with “negligence per se” laws, proving the defendant’s violation of the state’s DUI laws automatically satisfies duty and breach.
Driver’s drunkenness may or may not be a decisive factor
However, with causation, a driver’s drunkenness may or may not be a decisive factor. A good example is the rear-end collision; the driver in the back is usually at fault – that the driver in front may have been driving under the influence would be largely irrelevant.
In other situations – like when an impaired driver drives the wrong way down a one-way road and hits another car – it’s obvious the defendant’s impairment caused the accident. In cases, which proves challenging to the jury to decide on who caused the DUI accident, the odds favor the plaintiff thanks to the fact the defendant was drunk or on drugs.
Atlanta DUI Accident Lawyer
Of course, each case is unique. Therefore, if you have been involved in a DUI accident, it is always advisable to find an Atlanta DUI accident lawyer. A qualified attorney at Singleton Law Firm can explain your rights and legal options, and advise you on how best to proceed with your case.
Call us today at (770) 889-6010 or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.