Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol


Brian D. Rogers: Unfortunately, many catastrophically
injured people are the victims of this clearly preventable crime. And because it’s a crime,
you will need to work as a victim with the district attorney’s office. The district attorney
will prosecute the crime for this state. The defendants will often plead the Fifth Amendment
which means they’re not going to answer questions that may incriminate them. That and the pending
criminal prosecution is going to prevent the victim or the victim’s family from getting
information they need and want. You need to work closely with the district attorneys office
or the victim advocacy office. In fact MADD Georgia has a victim advocacy program that
will help you stay informed and know what’s going on with the criminal prosecution. Driving
under the influence also gives rise to punitive damages. Punitive damages are those damages
that are given to deter or punish the conduct. They are different than compensatory damages
which are meant to compensate the injured party for the harm done. The Georgia General
Assembly has set the cap for punitive damages $250,000.00. However that cap does not apply
to DUI cases. What’s important to understand, and when prosecuting a civil DUI case is that
evidence is needed both from the criminal prosecution and your own investigation. For
example, the GBI will do the toxicology test. Other evidence will be where the impaired
driver was drinking. That may give rise to what’s called a dram shop or social host liability
case. Dram shop and social host liability is a situation where the person who provided
the alcohol may be also be held liable in addition to the impaired driver. Now the Georgia
General Assembly has decided that it’s the consumption of alcohol, not the serving of
alcohol that is the primary proximate cause of impaired driving. Under certain circumstances,
the provider of alcohol, the dram shop provider, either a bar or a restaurant may be held liable.
These circumstances are that if the impaired driver is noticeably intoxicated and the provider
knew that impaired driver would soon be operating a vehicle then the social host, the bar, the
restaurant may be held responsible in those circumstances. As for underage consumption,
there is a strict liability criterion. That is if a provider serves alcohol to an underage
drinker, then they may be held liable regardless of whether the underage drinker seemed intoxicated,
if that results in their impaired driving causing harm to your loved one.

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