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Q
I was injured in an Atlanta drunk driving car crash. I know that I can receive compensation from the drivers insurance company for my medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. This is good, but I would really like to see the driver punished for his actions. Will that happen?

A

There are two ways that drunk drivers can be punished in Georgia: through the criminal courts and through the civil courts.

Criminal court cases: If the driver who caused your accident was under the influence of alcohol, he will face Georgia DUI charges. He will be arrested and will have to go to court. If the driver is convicted, he will face fines, jail time, and the loss of his license. The severity of his punishment will depend on his past driving record, his blood alcohol content at the time of the crash, and the number of people who were injured in the Atlanta drunk driving accident.

Civil court cases: Georgia law allows victims of Georgia drunk driving crashes to seek accountability for their injuries with a claim for punitive damages. Punitive damages are monetary awards specifically intended to punish a person who caused injury through recklessness or wrongful actions. While the amount you are awarded for compensatory damages, like medical bills, depends on the severity of your injuries, the amount of punitive damages reflects the wrongness of the drunk driver's actions. The amount of punitive damages may also be affected by the drunk driver's ability to pay, since they are rarely covered by car insurance.

Would you like to know more about civil claims for victims of Georgia drunk driving crashes? Request a free copy of Atlanta DUI injury attorney Shane Smith’s book, I Was Hit By A Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? or contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith at 770-HURT-999.

Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia