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I got hit by a drunk driver, what am I entitled to?

Athens, GA |

I was stopped at a red light and got rear-ended by a drunk driver. He didnt even see my car. The driver blew a 0.22, and was driving his girlfriends car, which is fully insured.

We are in the process of getting my car fixed via payments from his insurance.

After the accident my passengers and I went to the hospital to get checked out. We all had x-rays and CAT scans done.

I assume his insurance will also pay for these expenses.

However, we are in the middle of finals week in college. I fear that the pain killers and muscle relaxers will lessen my performance just as the immense pain would.

Can I take this case to civil court? If so, do I need a lawyer, and what can I sue for? Pain and suffering? Reimburstment for tuition? How much can I sue for in civil court?

Attorney Answers 4


Under Georgia law, a person is liable for damages caused by his or her negligence. Therefore, the driver who hit you would be liable for you and your friends' medical expenses, any lost wages, and pain and suffering. Also, under Georgia law, a drunk driver who injures another person may be liable for punitive damages for his or her conscious disregard of the consequence of driving while intoxicated. I believe it would be very helpful for you to consult with an attorney. We handle DUI accident cases and have an office in nearby Gainesville, Georgia. We can come to you if necessary. Please feel free to visit our website for more information on my firm and good luck.

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In addition to the answer you already received, let me mention that in general insurers will offer you and the other injured parties far less if you do not have a lawyer than if you do. It is very important that none of you discuss the case with the insurer nor give any statements to the insurer until you meet with a lawyer.

As the other response to you noted, in addition to your actual damages, you may receive additional sums for pain and suffering (and in some cases punitive damages). A claim for tution probably would fail however.

I'm in metro Atlanta and we certainly could assist you with reviewing your case should you want to do so.

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You've got the right to sue they guy who hit you to recover for medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc. Don't discuss the case with the insurance company of the guy who hit you without a lawyer, and get a lawyer as soon as you can. The following link, written primarily for people who have suffered catastrophic brain and/or spinal cord injuries, contains a lot of advice that may help you in choosing a lawyer.

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I recently joined AVVO so you may have already reached a conclusion to your potential claims.

Yes, you have a very clear civil claim against the drunk driver. My firm has litigated against drunk drivers since 1993 and have recovered compensatory damages (medical bills, lost wages if any, and "pain and suffering") as well as *punitive damages* which are assessed by the jury to punish the drunk driver. My law partner, Mark Link, is a co-author of the legal book published by Thompson West called "Punitive Damages in Georgia" which discusses this topic extensively.

Insurance should pay for your medical bills and while insurance is not likely to directly pay for any tuition reimbursement, there is a fair to good chance that a lawyer could obtain a settlement for you on these facts that may cover tuition.

I will be glad to discuss this matter with you in detail if you will contact me.

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