Drunk driving collisions are a leading cause of injury and death in Georgia. Inebriated motorists can make poor choices at the wheel that sober drivers would never make. They may fall asleep at the wheel or have increased reaction times that make them a threat to others on the road.
Although the law is very clear that people should not drive after drinking, many motorists overestimate their own ability and think they are one of the few people who can safely drive while drunk. After a drunk driving crash, those who didn’t make the choice to violate state traffic laws may have major expenses and may desire economic justice.
Who might have a responsibility to compensate injury victims affected by a drunk driving crash?
The impaired motorist
The most obvious party with responsibility for a drunk driving crash is the person who decided to get behind the wheel after drinking. Even though they broke the law, their liability insurance policy will likely still cover the costs of the collision if the other motorist makes a claim. However, many people don’t carry much insurance, and some drivers knowingly let their policies lapse. Sometimes it will be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit after a drunk driving crash because insurance won’t provide enough compensation. The impaired motorist may not have enough personal resources to adequately compensate the other party, which might mean that the affected parties must look elsewhere for financial reimbursement.
A licensed bar or restaurant
Georgia state law requires that businesses license to serve alcohol to the public comply with certain rules. It is illegal to serve a minor who has not yet reached 21 years of age, and it is also a violation of the law to continue serving alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated. In scenarios where someone drank a huge amount of alcohol at a business or drank while underage and then left and caused a crash, the parties affected by the wreck might be able to pursue a dram shop claim against the business for violating state liquor laws. Such claims can expand the amount of compensation available, which can be worthwhile when the driver who caused the crash doesn’t have insurance or the collision caused catastrophic losses.
Those who make safe driving choices shouldn’t have to absorb losses caused by others who are less safe on the road. Reviewing every option for compensation is often necessary for those harmed by an impaired driver in Georgia. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to begin.