I got hit by a drunk driver in a car wreck. Does the fact that the driver was DUI matter?

Damages From a Driver DUI

Yes, it matters a great deal. The law teaches us, “for every wrong there is a remedy.” A victim of a car wreck is entitled to be made whole under the law. This means the law tries to return the victim to as near to the state they were prior to the wreck using an award of money. So, a typical car wreck victim will receive money for the damage to their car, the medical expenses they suffered, the lost wages and other similar damages.

Punitive Damages Under The Law

But there is another kind of damages, “Punitive Damages”, not intended to make the victim whole, but rather to punish the person who caused the harm in certain, egregious instances. These damages are only awarded if the conduct is proven to be “willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, or [my favorite] that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.” See O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(b). That is a mouthful. Under Georgia law, if the driver who caused the wreck, “acted or failed to act while under the influence of alcohol or drugs… there shall be no limitation regarding the amount which may be awarded as punitive damages.” See O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(f).

How much money is awarded for punitive damages?

You may ask, how much money is awarded for punitive damages? How much more would a person get if injured due to the actions of drunk driver? The difficult answer there is: it depends on the circumstances. But it is important realize you are likely entitled to more damages and the insurance company representing the responsible driver doesn’t want you to know that. Countless cases get settled for a fraction of their full value because victims don’t contact competent counsel. Medical bills can be left unpaid, rehabilitation that could be paid for is unavailable, and the drunk driver walks away, often unpunished and without the full punishment prescribed by law. It is vital for victims of drunk or drug DUI drivers to contact an attorney before speaking to any insurance representatives or accepting a settlement.

If you or a friend has been injured in a car accident involving a drunk or DUI driver, please contact us now at 770-483-6557.

Michael Geoffroy

About Michael Geoffroy