When a negligent driver gets behind the wheel after drinking and causes a serious car or pedestrian wreck as a result, making him pay for the damage caused does not do justice to the severity of his wrongdoing. Sometimes punitive damages are in order as well.

Punitive damages, otherwise known as a financial punishment handed out to punish or discourage reckless behavior, is a staple of Georgia law in drunken driving wrecks. If you or a family member has been injured in one of these crashes, you may be eligible to recover punitive damages.

The law in Georgia concerning punitive damages (O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1) affords the victims of drunk driving accidents the ability to earn more financial compensation after a wreck. These damages are received in addition to compensatory costs for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

There are some limitations to punitive damages:

  • Punitive damages are not available for simple traffic violations, only for extreme cases such as drunk driving accidents.
  • Punitive damages are capped at $250,000 in the state of Georgia for all infractions.


If you or a family member has been injured or even killed in an alcohol-related crash, and you believe that the other driver was extremely negligent in causing harm to you or your family, we urge you to examine the possibility of receiving punitive damages after the fact.

The best way to learn more about your legal rights in these cases is to call a Georgia DUI victim attorney in your area. An initial consultation with a lawyer can help you clarify the law and learn what compensation you may be eligible to receive.

Contact the experienced drunk driving accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Shane Smith today, where your first consultation is always free. You can call us at (770) HURT-999 or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment.

Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia

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