The idea that a drunk driver could crash into your car and walk away without paying a dime is infuriating. Sadly, this could happen if you don’t have an Athens car accident lawyer by your side. As obvious as it may be to you, the law requires that your accident attorney in Athens prove that the defendant caused the crash.
It’s Almost a Given That a Drunk Driver Will Be Found Liable
It makes sense that the defendant will be held liable if they were convicted of drunk driving. However, there have been occasions where our clients have had a hard time proving fault, despite the DUI conviction.
For example, imagine that you’re involved in a rear-end collision. The other driver was stopped at a red light. Your brakes failed and you plowed into the back of their car. They may be cited for drunk driving, but that doesn’t change the fact that you crashed into their vehicle.
The Police Will Discover the Other Driver is Under the Influence at the Accident Scene
The good news is that, as long as you call 911 immediately after the accident, the police will come out and do a thorough investigation. They will ultimately discover that the other driver was driving under the influence.
They will put a notation in their final report indicating that the other driver was arrested for DUI. Your Athens car accident lawyer can then follow up and get proof that they were eventually convicted of the crime.
The Defendant Will Be Arrested and Charged with DUI
While the defendant may be arrested and charged with DUI, that isn’t enough to prove your case. For all you know, the charges may have been dropped. Or the other driver found a way to get the charges reduced to reckless driving.
This information may still prove helpful. However, it won’t be enough to prove fault. Your accident attorney in Athens is still going to have to prove negligence somehow. In the example given above with the rear-end accident, it will be very difficult to do that.
However, if the defendant caused the collision, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to win your case. In fact, once the DUI conviction is discovered, your Athens car accident lawyer should be able to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company.
Your Accident Attorney in Athens Will Submit Proof of Their Conviction to Prove Fault
As angry as you must be after the car accident, you need to let your accident attorney in Athens do their job. They’ll take the evidence they have gathered and submit it to the insurance carrier. Hopefully, this evidence, along with proof of the DUI conviction, will be enough to spark settlement negotiations.
The insurance company has to know that they don’t have a good chance of winning in court. If the case went before a jury, they may automatically assume the other driver is liable, simply because they were convicted of DUI.
That Doesn’t Mean Your Athens Car Accident Lawyer Won’t Have to Prove Fault
Even if your Athens car accident lawyer thinks the jury will find in your favor, they still need to put on a case. If there is no settlement prior to trial, your attorney will need to submit sufficient evidence to prove negligence.
Proving negligence is not easy in any car accident case. However, it shouldn’t be as difficult if the defendant was drinking and driving. Most juries and judges sympathize with the victim in a drunk driving accident.
Your Accident Attorney in Athens Must Prove Negligence
To prove negligence, your accident attorney in Athens must show that the defendant didn’t behave a reasonable driver would have. Specifically, they must prove the following four things:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care – This is rather obvious. All drivers owe a certain duty of care to other motorists.
- They breached this duty – By being convicted of DUI, the defendant will have clearly breached their duty of care.
- You were injured -You car accident lawyer in Athens will have to submit a copy of your medical records to justify your injuries.
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty – As long as you go directly to the hospital, this shouldn’t be a problem. You don’t want to give the defendant’s attorney the chance to say something other than the crash caused your injuries.
Once your accident attorney in Athens proves these four things, there’s a good chance you’ll be entitled to damages.
What Kind of Damages Will Your Accident Attorney in Athens Demand?
Drunk driving accidents tend to be more serious than other accidents. There’s a good chance you’ll be entitled to significant damages. However, your lawyer must prove these as well.
In most of the cases our car accident lawyers in Athens handle, we demand the following:
- Medical bills and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Normally, we wouldn’t suggest that a car accident victim would be entitled to punitive damages. However, when the other driver was drunk at the time of the crash, you may convince a judge to grant them.
It’s a Good Idea to Meet with a Seasoned Athens Car Accident Lawyer Immediately After the Crash
You may think your case against the other driver is rock solid. After all, if they were drunk driving, what else do you need? The truth is that your Athens car accident lawyer is still going to have to prove fault. It’s not enough that the defendant was convicted of drunk driving.
Without an accident attorney in Athens, you could walk away from your accident empty handed. You shouldn’t be left with medical bills and lost wages if you didn’t cause the crash. Unfortunately, the law requires that you prove that the defendant was negligent.
We recommend that you call our office as soon as possible after the accident. We can schedule your free, initial consultation over the phone. Or, if you prefer, you can do so through our website.