Late last week, a traffic accident occurred in Lumpkin County around Azalea Ridge. According to a local news report, a man was driving north when he was unable to navigate a curve. He swerved out of his lane and crossed through the center median and hit another car. The driver of the vehicle was not wearing a seatbelt during the accident.
Unfortunately, the car that was hit was carrying three young adults. The driver of the vehicle was flown to a hospital, and the other two individuals were driven to another nearby hospital. Only one of the passengers was wearing a seatbelt, but no one was thrown from either of the cars.
Georgia State Police explained that the driver of the vehicle that crossed the median will likely be charged with various crimes. One Trooper explained that the driver will be charged with “failure to maintain lane, driving on the wrong side of the roadway, DUI, two counts of felony serious injury by vehicle, and seatbelt violation.”
Georgia DUI Law and Regulation
Georgia law explains that a driver may not drive with a breath- or blood-alcohol content of .08 or above. Additionally, the state’s DUI laws include not only alcohol but any substance that may affect a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. This can include prescription drugs, illegal drugs, over the counter drugs, and other intoxicating substances.
Georgia and Negligence Per Se
Georgia follows the “negligence per se” model when it comes to driving under the influence. In order to make a negligence per se argument, certain elements must be proven. A victim must first establish that the driver of a vehicle’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was .08 or more. Then, the victim must show that the driver’s violation either added to any injury the victim suffered or caused the injury. After establishing those two elements, the other driver will likely be liable because of Georgia’s negligence per se rule.
Negligence of Other Entities
The negligence per se rule does not preclude suits against other individuals or entities that may have also been negligent. A victim may hold other individuals, besides the driver, accountable for his or her injuries as well. For example, if the city designed or operates a road that is unreasonably dangerous, it may be found liable for negligence as well.
Additionally, Georgia has Dram Shop laws. A Dram Shop law makes it possible for a victim of a DUI to sue the individual or entity that provided the liquor to a person whom the bartender or owner should have suspected was going to drive and was visibly intoxicated at the time. Georgia extends this provision to not only business owners but to private parties as well.
Comparative Fault in Georgia
It is important to contact a lawyer when dealing with DUI liability in Georgia because Georgia is a comparative fault state. If a victim is more than 50% responsible for the accident, he or she will not be able to recover damages. It is important in states like this to ensure that the case is investigated thoroughly and that all arguments are explored.
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured in a Georgia DUI Accident?
Although Georgia law allows negligence per se lawsuits, it is also a comparative negligence state, which means it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney to assist you in your claim. If you feel that you were a victim of an accident because of another’s negligence, please contact our office at 770-284-3727 to set up a free initial consultation.
See Related Blog Posts
Sheriff’s Deputy Caught in Hit-and-Run Accident, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 24, 2014.
Eight-Vehicle Accident on I-75 Kills Four, Injures Thirteen, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, August 21, 2014.