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The Walker Law Offices, PA

Licensed in Florida & Georgia

Office (904)358-7104 



A. Definition

B. Application

C. Examples

D. Why is this important to you?


Being the victim in a car accident is already frustrating enough, but that is only compounded by the recklessness of the driver including a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in their negligence. Under state Law, a person is considered to be too drunk to drive under criminal law  if their blood alcohol level is above .04 or if they are shown to be too intoxicated to safely operate a vehicle (O.C.G.A § 40-6-391), however for the purposes of your injuries, a lower level may still be evidence of reckless behavior.

Being the victim of a DUI crash can add the element of punitive damages and potential parties who you may not even be aware of playing a role in the crash. 

In Georgia, a driver who has been overserved at an establishment and subsequently injures someone can also result in the establishment being held liable. These are  known as Dram Shop provisions.


A. Definitions


A person who is found to be guilty of violating DUI laws can be found to be negligent per se in court. Georgia courts have found that relevant violations of law are enough to make a defendant negligent if that violation of law is sufficiently tied to the crash that caused your injuries. If this is shown, precedent states that the court may remove the question of negligence from the jury entirely, leaving the case to solely be about your injuries and how much they are worth (Purcell v. Hill, 107 Ga. App. 85, 129 S.E.2d 341 (1962). 


In cases such as these, there is also the possibility of punitive damages. This applies when the defendant is extremely negligent and serves the purpose of punishing the defendant more than compensating the victim (O.C.G.A. §51-12-5.1). As punitive damages have no cap for DUIs, meaning that the defendant’s level of recklessness may result in an extreme change to the valuation of your case.


The final aspect of the analysis is the dram shop laws. The purpose of these laws is  to deter establishments from serving individuals who are obviously too intoxicated to drive (O.C.G.A §51-1-40). While this law is not relevant in all cases, it can have a huge impact on who is sued and your access to compensation for your injuries.

B. Application


When you have been the victim of a crash involving a DUI, your attorney will take special care to ensure all of the relevant facts are presented to the jury. The most obvious way to determine intoxication is obviously through a police report, however that is not the only option. Medical records and testimony unearthed in discovery can give tremendously valuable insight into the value of your case. 

C. Examples

If a criminal court finds that the defendant broke the law, the concept of negligence per se may play a role. If it is found that the violation of criminal law played a role in your injuries, negligence may not have to be proven in court (O.C.G.A. §51-1-2). Violations of the Uniform Rules of the Road, which govern what is and is not safe and reasonable behavior on the road are prime examples of legal violations that can result in a finding of negligence per se.

In far too many cases, the defendant is obviously too intoxicated to drive and have been for some time. If the driver was served at an establishment such as a bar or restaurant, the serving establishment may be held liable as well. Businesses cannot serve people who are obviously drunk if they know that they will be driving soon. These are known as Dram Shop laws.

When all of this is combined, a claim is ripe for punitive damages. As these are not tied to your injuries, this number will not align with any type of medical bills or pain and suffering. In Georgia, there is no limit to the punitive damages that can be levied against the defendant for DUIs. These damages are specific to the individual so the negligence of a restaurant will not be added to the negligence of the driver when calculating this number. 

D. Why this is important to you?

When all of these factors are considered together and in practice, they can have an extreme effect on the outcome of your case. Ensuring that every relevant party is brought into your claim, and they are held liable for their conduct takes both diligence and care to best represent your case. Factor’s such as level of intoxication, when service of drinks ended, and violations of law are all unique factors that must be thoroughly explored.

Having an experienced attorney is key to not only proving your injuries and their value but also showing that there was gross negligence. Matters like this can be the difference between getting the compensation you’re entitled to and some lesser sum. The Attorneys at The Walker Law Offices are well versed in the areas of negligence and DUI.

The Walker Law Offices: DUI Driver In Georgia

 Willie Walker III, Esq.

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