According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,597 people were killed in United States traffic accidents in December 2010. Of those, 775 deaths involved alcohol-impaired drivers. A 2006 study by the NHTSA estimated that there is one drunk driving fatality in the United States every 30 minutes.
Georgia's Driving Under the Influence Laws are complex. Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith can sort through the intermingled laws that potentially create complications in a DUI case.
An Atlanta attorney with a four prior DUI charges entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being charged with vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, DUI and reckless driving in a 2006 accident. The attorney allegedly ran a red light and crashed into a taxi after a football game. His blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.207, more than twice the legal limit. Before the accident the attorney was ordered not to dive as a condition of probation from a prior DUI.
The accident killed a 31-year-old military veteran and severely injured her boyfriend and the cab driver. The boyfriend lost sight in one eye and suffered a collapsed lung. The taxi driver suffered a broken femur, blunt force trauma to the chest and a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that caused memory loss. The woman who was killed had two young children.
If the attorney had been found guilty of all the charges at trial he could have been sentenced to a maximum of 48 years in prison.
The victim's family has potential claims against the driver for wrongful death. There are two types of death claims that may be pursued by the deceased's family under Georgia law: surviving family members may file a claim pursuant to Georgia's wrongful death statute or a claim may be pursued by the victim's estate. Wrongful death claims may involve complicated issues that include whether the victim left a will, his marital status, whether he had any children, whether he was due to receive an inheritance, the nature of medical care and expenses following the accident and whether the victim suffered as a result of the accident. A case's unique facts will determine who is entitled to settlement or verdict recoveries, which people may pursue wrongful death claims and the values of each claim. A successful claim is aided by the expertise of an experienced Clayton County wrongful death attorney.
If you have questions about Georgia DUI laws, get the answers in Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith's book, I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? Contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith to schedule a free legal consultation.