fbpx

Determining Liability After a Car Wreck in Georgia: Intoxicated Driving – OCGA 40-6-253 and OCGA 40-6-391

Drunk Driving in Georgia

 

It’s time to tackle the especially dangerous and tragedy-inducing traffic infraction that is intoxicated driving.  This article is not meant to help educate people who have been charged with drunk driving.  It is instead intended for families who were victims of a drunk driver’s poor decisions.  It will go through the rules that apply in Georgia and what to expect in a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver.

Getting behind the wheel while drunk or high is an act of willful disregard for the safety of others, and it’s illegal, which makes it a form of negligence per se.

Negligence per se is the idea that failing to follow safety rules is inherently negligent behavior. Therefore, anyone who causes any kind of damage as a result of breaking a safety rule is automatically liable for that damage in a civil lawsuit.

All of the rules of the road qualify as safety rules, which makes them very useful for proving negligence after a car accident. The rules forbidding driving while intoxicated most definitely count for this purpose.

Last week, we looked at how the concept of negligence per se applies to the practice of “laying drags,” as outlined in statute 40-6-251. To explore how it applies to intoxicated driving, we’ll have to examine both OCGA 40-6-253 and OCGA 40-6-391.

 

Drinking While Driving

There are two main statutes concerning alcohol, vehicles, and the importance of not mixing them. The first, OCGA 40-6-253 simply forbids drinking alcohol or possessing an open container of alcohol while in a vehicle. Whether the person in possession of the alcohol is driving or not, and whether they are intoxicated enough to be a hazard or not, are irrelevant.

 

(b)

(1) A person shall not:

(A) Consume any alcoholic beverage; or

(B) Possess any open alcoholic beverage container

in the passenger area of any motor vehicle which is on the roadway or shoulder of any public highway.

 

All different kinds of alcoholic drinks are covered by OCGA 40-6-253.

 

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Alcoholic beverage” means:

(A) Beer, ale, porter, stout, and other similar fermented beverages, including sake or similar products, of any name or description containing one-half of 1 percent or more of alcohol by volume, brewed or produced from malt, wholly or in part, or from any substitute therefor;

(B) Wine of not less than one-half of 1 percent of alcohol by volume; or

(C) Distilled spirits which is that substance known as ethyl alcohol, ethanol, or spirits of wine in any form, including all dilutions and mixtures thereof from whatever source or by whatever process produced.

 

An open container means any container that is unsealed, or has been partially emptied and not resealed in tamper-evident packaging. Only homebrewers and restaurants that serve wine by the bottle are allowed to use resealing procedures for transport.

 

(2) “Open alcoholic beverage container” means any bottle, can, or other receptacle that:

(A) Contains any amount of alcoholic beverage; and

(B)

(i) Is open or has a broken seal; or

(ii) The contents of which are partially removed.

A container that has been sealed or resealed pursuant to OCGA 3-5-4 or 3-6-4 shall not constitute an open alcoholic beverage container for purposes of this Code section.

 

The only legal places to store opened or partially emptied alcohol containers in a vehicle are in the trunk, in a locked glovebox, or behind the back seats, if the vehicle has no trunk.

 

(3) “Passenger area” means the area designed to seat the driver and passengers while a motor vehicle is in operation and any area that is readily accessible to the driver or a passenger while in his or her seating position; provided, however, that such term does not include any locked glove compartment or, in a passenger car not equipped with a trunk, any area behind the rearmost upright seat or not normally occupied by the driver or passengers.

 

OCGA 40-6-253 does not apply to cars specifically designed to carry passengers for profit, or to mobile homes. That’s why it’s legal to have a bar in the back of a limousine, or to drink while living or traveling in an RV, though it’s still illegal to drive any vehicle while intoxicated.

 

(2) The provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply to any passenger in the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation or in the living quarters of a motor home or house trailer.

 

A person who drinks or possesses an open container of alcohol while driving or riding in a vehicle is subject to a fine of up to $200.

 

(3) Only a person who consumes an alcoholic beverage or possesses an open alcoholic beverage container in violation of this Code section shall be charged with such offense; provided, however, that an operator of a motor vehicle who is alone in the passenger area of such motor vehicle shall be deemed to be in possession of any open alcoholic beverage container in such passenger area.

(c) Any person who violates this Code section is subject to a fine not to exceed $200.00.

 

If the driver is alone in a vehicle with an open container of alcohol, that driver is assumed to possess it.

 

Driving Under the Influence

Whether or not the alcohol ever comes in direct contact with the vehicle, it’s always illegal to drive while chemically impaired. That’s where OCGA 40-6-391 comes in.

 

Most people are aware of the “0.08” cutoff for blood alcohol content while driving, and it’s true that driving on 0.08 or more is illegal for everyone. However, each person’s tolerance for alcohol is different, and getting behind the wheel when you’ve had enough to affect your driving is also illegal in and of itself, even if that amount is just one beer.

 

In addition to alcohol, OCGA 40-6-391 applies to all other substances, legal and illegal, that can affect driving skill.

 

(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while:

(1) Under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;

(2) Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;

(3) Under the intentional influence of any glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;

(4) Under the combined influence of any two or more of the substances specified in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;

(5) The person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours after such driving or being in actual physical control from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in actual physical control ended; or

 

If a driver tests positive for using an illegal drug while driving, that’s an automatic violation of 40-6-391, regardless of how they were actually maneuvering the vehicle.

 

(6) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, present in the person’s blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the person’s breath or blood.

 

If, on the other hand, a driver tests positive for a drug that they’re legally aloud to use, that driver can still be charged under OCGA 40-6-391, but only if their driving was noticeably impaired.

 

(b) The fact that any person charged with violating this Code section is or has been legally entitled to use a drug shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this Code section; provided, however, that such person shall not be in violation of this Code section unless such person is rendered incapable of driving safely as a result of using a drug other than alcohol which such person is legally entitled to use.

 

For example, a driver using medical cannabis, or even over-the-counter cold medicine, is responsible for planning their usage and their transportation in ways that will not make them a hazard on the road, whereas a driver using cocaine, even in trace amounts, is automatically considered to be driving under the influence, no matter how functional they appear.

 

Child Endangerment Cases

If there’s someone under the age of 14 in the intoxicated driver’s car, the case becomes more serious. Impaired driving is always serious, but endangering a child by driving under the influence is a separate charge, and the driver will be prosecuted for both violations at once.

 

(l) A person who violates this Code section while transporting in a motor vehicle a child under the age of 14 years is guilty of the separate offense of endangering a child by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The offense of endangering a child by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs shall not be merged with the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs for the purposes of prosecution and sentencing. An offender who is convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of subsection (d) of Code Section 16-12-1.

 

Consequences of Intoxicated Driving

OCGA 40-6-391 goes into great detail on how intoxicated drivers are to be punished under criminal law. Generally, within a 10-year period, first and second offenses are misdemeanors, third offenses are high and aggravated misdemeanors, and fourth offenses are felonies.

 

(c) Every person convicted of violating this Code section shall, upon a first or second conviction thereof, be guilty of a misdemeanor, upon a third conviction thereof, be guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor, and upon a fourth or subsequent conviction thereof, be guilty of a felony except as otherwise provided in paragraph (4) of this subsection and shall be punished as follows:

 

However, even a first offense carries higher penalties than a blotch on the driver’s criminal record. It also comes with mandatory fines, community service, probation, clinical evaluation, and completion of a DUI risk prevention program. If the driver’s blood alcohol content is 0.08 or higher, there’s also a minimum 24 hours of jail time, which can be extended to as long as a year, depending on the situation and the judge’s discretion.

 

(1) First conviction with no conviction of and no plea of nolo contendere accepted to a charge of violating this Code section within the previous ten years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained or pleas of nolo contendere were accepted to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained or a plea of nolo contendere is accepted:

(A) A fine of not less than $300.00 and not more than $1,000.00, which fine shall not, except as provided in subsection (g) of this Code section, be subject to suspension, stay, or probation;

(B) A period of imprisonment of not fewer than ten days nor more than 12 months, which period of imprisonment may, at the sole discretion of the judge, be suspended, stayed, or probated, except that if the offender’s alcohol concentration at the time of the offense was 0.08 grams or more, the judge may suspend, stay, or probate all but 24 hours of any term of imprisonment imposed under this subparagraph;

(C) Not fewer than 40 hours of community service, except that for a conviction for violation of subsection (k) of this Code section where the person’s alcohol concentration at the time of the offense was less than 0.08 grams, the period of community service shall be not fewer than 20 hours;

(D) Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program within 120 days following his or her conviction; provided, however, that if the defendant is incarcerated and such program cannot be completed within 120 days, it shall be completed within 90 days of his or her release from custody. The sponsor of any such program shall provide written notice of the Department of Driver Services’ certification of the program to the person upon enrollment in the program;

(E) A clinical evaluation as defined in Code Section 40-5-1 and, if recommended as a part of such evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1; provided, however, that in the court’s discretion such evaluation may be waived; and

(F) If the person is sentenced to a period of imprisonment for fewer than 12 months, a period of probation of 12 months less any days during which the person is actually incarcerated;

 

On the second offense, the minimum fine doubles from $300 to $600, and the minimum jail stay triples to 72 hours regardless of blood alcohol content.

 

(2) For the second conviction within a ten-year period of time, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained or pleas of nolo contendere were accepted to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained or a plea of nolo contendere is accepted:

(A) A fine of not less than $600.00 and not more than $1,000.00, which fine shall not, except as provided in subsection (g) of this Code section, be subject to suspension, stay, or probation;

(B) A period of imprisonment of not fewer than 90 days and not more than 12 months. The judge shall probate at least a portion of such term of imprisonment, in accordance with subparagraph (F) of this paragraph, thereby subjecting the offender to the provisions of Article 7 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 and to such other terms and conditions as the judge may impose; provided, however, that the offender shall be required to serve not fewer than 72 hours of actual incarceration;

(C) Not fewer than 30 days of community service;

(D) Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program within 120 days following his or her conviction; provided, however, that if the defendant is incarcerated and such program cannot be completed within 120 days, it shall be completed within 90 days of his or her release from custody. The sponsor of any such program shall provide written notice of the Department of Driver Services’ certification of the program to the person upon enrollment in the program;

(E) A clinical evaluation as defined in Code Section 40-5-1 and, if recommended as a part of such evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1; and

(F) A period of probation of 12 months less any days during which the person is actually incarcerated;

 

On the third, the minimum fine jumps to $1,000, with a maximum of $5,000, and jail time goes to a minimum of 15 days served.

 

(3) For the third conviction within a ten-year period of time, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained or pleas of nolo contendere were accepted to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained or a plea of nolo contendere is accepted:

(A) A fine of not less than $1,000.00 and not more than $5,000.00, which fine shall not, except as provided in subsection (g) of this Code section, be subject to suspension, stay, or probation;

(B) A mandatory period of imprisonment of not fewer than 120 days and not more than 12 months. The judge shall probate at least a portion of such term of imprisonment, in accordance with subparagraph (F) of this paragraph, thereby subjecting the offender to the provisions of Article 7 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 and to such other terms and conditions as the judge may impose; provided, however, that the offender shall be required to serve not fewer than 15 days of actual incarceration;

(C) Not fewer than 30 days of community service;

(D) Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program within 120 days following his or her conviction; provided, however, that if the defendant is incarcerated and such program cannot be completed within 120 days, it shall be completed within 90 days of his or her release from custody. The sponsor of any such program shall provide written notice of the Department of Driver Services’ certification of the program to the person upon enrollment in the program;

(E) A clinical evaluation as defined in Code Section 40-5-1 and, if recommended as a part of such evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1; and

(F) A period of probation of 12 months less any days during which the person is actually incarcerated;

 

On the fourth, jail time goes up to a minimum of 90 days, with a maximum of 5 years. Probation will last until the end of those five years if incarceration doesn’t, and community service hours are also doubled.

 

(4) For the fourth or subsequent conviction within a ten-year period of time, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained or pleas of nolo contendere were accepted to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained or a plea of nolo contendere is accepted:

(A) A fine of not less than $1,000.00 and not more than $5,000.00, which fine shall not, except as provided in subsection (g) of this Code section, be subject to suspension, stay, or probation;

(B) A period of imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than five years; provided, however, that the judge may suspend, stay, or probate all but 90 days of any term of imprisonment imposed under this paragraph. The judge shall probate at least a portion of such term of imprisonment, in accordance with subparagraph (F) of this paragraph, thereby subjecting the offender to the provisions of Article 7 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 and to such other terms and conditions as the judge may impose;

(C) Not fewer than 60 days of community service; provided, however, that if a defendant is sentenced to serve three years of actual imprisonment, the judge may suspend the community service;

(D) Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program within 120 days following his or her conviction; provided, however, that if the defendant is incarcerated and such program cannot be completed within 120 days, it shall be completed within 90 days of his or her release from custody. The sponsor of any such program shall provide written notice of the Department of Driver Services’ certification of the program to the person upon enrollment in the program;

(E) A clinical evaluation as defined in Code Section 40-5-1 and, if recommended as a part of such evaluation, completion of a substance abuse treatment program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1; and

(F) A period of probation of five years less any days during which the person is actually imprisoned;

 

Those four offenses within 10 years have to take place on separate occasions to count. Multiple violations of 40-6-391 at the same time are subject to the same maximums and minimums as single offenses.

 

(e) The foregoing limitations on punishment also shall apply when a defendant has been convicted of violating, by a single transaction, more than one of the four provisions of subsection (a) of this Code section.

 

Technicalities and Enforcement Details

Counting that fourth offense as a felony is a new rule as of 2008, so it wasn’t applied immediately to drivers whose first offenses happened earlier than that.

 

provided, however, that if the ten-year period of time as measured in this paragraph commenced prior to July 1, 2008, then such fourth or subsequent conviction shall be a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and punished as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection;

 

However, by now, any old offenses that fall within the 10-year range will also be after 2008, so a fourth offense will always be a felony.

 

(6) For the purpose of imposing a sentence under this subsection, a plea of nolo contendere based on a violation of this Code section shall constitute a conviction; and

(7) For purposes of determining the number of prior convictions or pleas of nolo contendere pursuant to the felony provisions of paragraph (4) of this subsection, only those offenses for which a conviction is obtained or a plea of nolo contendere is accepted on or after July 1, 2008, shall be considered; provided, however, that nothing in this subsection shall be construed as limiting or modifying in any way administrative proceedings or sentence enhancement provisions under Georgia law, including, but not limited to, provisions relating to punishment of recidivist offenders pursuant to Title 17.

 

All municipal courts have the authority to enforce statute 40-6-391.

 

d)

(1) Notwithstanding the limits set forth in any municipal charter, any municipal court of any municipality shall be authorized to impose the misdemeanor or high and aggravated misdemeanor punishments provided for in this Code section upon a conviction of violating this Code section or upon a conviction of violating any ordinance adopting the provisions of this Code section.

(2) Notwithstanding any provision of this Code section to the contrary, any court authorized to hear misdemeanor or high and aggravated misdemeanor cases involving violations of this Code section shall be authorized to exercise the power to probate, suspend, or stay any sentence imposed. Such power shall, however, be limited to the conditions and limitations imposed by subsection (c) of this Code section.

 

And the sentencing standards laid out in 40-6-391 overrule any other regulations concerning first-time offenders and misdemeanor offenses.

 

(f) The provisions of Code Section 17-10-3, relating to general punishment for misdemeanors including traffic offenses, and the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42, relating to probation of first offenders, shall not apply to any person convicted of violating any provision of this Code section.

 

If the convicted driver can’t afford the fine, a judge may decide to replace half of it with a mandatory substance abuse treatment program.

 

(2) In the sole discretion of the judge, he or she may suspend up to one-half of the fine imposed under subsection (c) of this Code section conditioned upon the defendant’s undergoing treatment in a substance abuse treatment program as defined in Code Section 40-5-1.

 

Fine payment installment plans are also offered sometimes, but this generally happens when the defendant is already in contempt of court for nonpayment, which can carry additional penalties.

 

(g)

(1) If the payment of the fine required under subsection (c) of this Code section will impose an economic hardship on the defendant, the judge, at his or her sole discretion, may order the defendant to pay such fine in installments and such order may be enforced through a contempt proceeding or a revocation of any probation otherwise authorized by this Code section.

 

Statute 40-6-391 also covers violations of similar laws in different jurisdictions, so it doesn’t matter exactly where the defendant was driving at the time of the incident.

 

(h) For purposes of determining under this chapter prior convictions of or pleas of nolo contendere to violating this Code section, in addition to the offense prohibited by this Code section, a conviction of or plea of nolo contendere to any of the following offenses shall be deemed to be a violation of this Code section:

(1) Any federal law substantially conforming to or parallel with the offense covered under this Code section;

(2) Any local ordinance adopted pursuant to Article 14 of this chapter, which ordinance adopts the provisions of this Code section; or

(3) Any previously or currently existing law of this or any other state, which law was or is substantially conforming to or parallel with this Code section.

 

Public Conviction Notices

 

After the first offense, in addition to regular sentencing, the court will publish a conviction notice for every DUI incident, including the driver’s mug shot, name, offense, home city, and place of arrest.

 

(j)

(1) The clerk of the court in which a person is convicted a second or subsequent time under subsection (c) of this Code section within five years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained or pleas of nolo contendere were accepted to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained or a plea of nolo contendere is accepted, shall cause to be published a notice of conviction for each such person convicted. Such notices of conviction shall be published in the manner of legal notices in the legal organ of the county in which such person resides or, in the case of nonresidents, in the legal organ of the county in which the person was convicted. Such notice of conviction shall be one column wide by two inches long and shall contain the photograph taken by the arresting law enforcement agency at the time of arrest, the name of the convicted person, the city, county, and zip code of the convicted person’s residential address, and the date, time, place of arrest, and disposition of the case and shall be published once in the legal organ of the appropriate county in the second week following such conviction or as soon thereafter as publication may be made.

 

The driver will be charged $25 for the publication costs, on top of the fine for the DUI itself.

 

(2) The convicted person for which a notice of conviction is published pursuant to this subsection shall be assessed $25.00 for the cost of publication of such notice and such assessment shall be imposed at the time of conviction in addition to any other fine imposed pursuant to this Code section.

 

And unless there’s malice involved on the part of the court, the driver can’t sue for libel, even if the conviction is ultimately overturned.

 

(3) The clerk of the court, the publisher of any legal organ which publishes a notice of conviction, and any other person involved in the publication of an erroneous notice of conviction shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for such erroneous publication, provided such publication was made in good faith.

 

 

Special Rules for Young and Commercial Drivers

Regulations are tighter for those who drive for a living. A blood alcohol content of only 0.04 in a commercial driver is treated the same as 0.08 for someone driving their own car on their own time. The commercial driver may also lose their license to drive commercially, but that’s outside the scope of 40-6-391.

 

(i) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving commercial motor vehicle while there is 0.04 percent or more by weight of alcohol in such person’s blood, breath, or urine. Every person convicted of violating this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, in addition to any disqualification resulting under Article 7 of Chapter 5 of this title, the “Uniform Commercial Driver’s License Act,” shall be fined as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section.

 

For drivers under the age of 21, the rules are both tighter and laxer, in a way. Blood alcohol content limits are the strictest of all for this category of driver, at just 0.02.

 

(k)

(1) A person under the age of 21 shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while the person’s alcohol concentration is 0.02 grams or more at any time within three hours after such driving or being in physical control from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in actual physical control ended.

 

But a driver under 21 also won’t be charged with a felony after four or more offenses. The severity of the charge maxes out at a high and aggravated misdemeanor.

 

(2) Every person convicted of violating this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor for the first and second convictions and upon a third or subsequent conviction thereof be guilty of a high and aggravated misdemeanor and shall be punished and fined as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, provided that any term of imprisonment served shall be subject to the provisions of Code Section 17-10-3.1, and any period of community service imposed on such person shall be required to be completed within 60 days of the date of sentencing.

(3) No plea of nolo contendere shall be accepted for any person under the age of 21 charged with a violation of this Code section.

 

Once a driver reaches the age of 21, however, their past DUI offenses still count toward their total.

 

(5) If a person has been convicted of violating subsection (k) of this Code section premised on a refusal to submit to required testing or where such person’s alcohol concentration at the time of the offense was 0.08 grams or more, and such person is subsequently convicted of violating subsection (a) of this Code section, such person shall be punished by applying the applicable level or grade of conviction specified in this subsection such that the previous conviction of violating subsection (k) of this Code section shall be considered a previous conviction of violating subsection (a) of this Code section;

 

In other words, it’s possible to be charged with a felony for your first DUI after the age of 21, if you had three or more DUIs before turning 21.

 

What Damages Can You Recover from an Intoxicated Driver?

All of the above consequences for intoxicated drivers fall under criminal law. They’re intended to prevent the drivers from repeating their crimes, and to convince others not to drive intoxicated in the first place. If the driver has already caused a serious accident, however, these fines, jail sentences, and other programs do nothing to help the victims of that accident. That’s the arena of civil law. Driving while intoxicated is absolutely an example of negligence per se, so if you’ve been injured by a driver who was drunk or high, you’re owed compensation for your losses. Those losses will be calculated in two categories: special damages and general damages.

 

If It Costs Money, It Belongs in Special Damages

The purpose of a special damages settlement is to put your financial life back to the way it would have been if the accident had never happened. This includes things like paying for your medical expenses, both present and future, replacing your car, and supplementing your income to make up for any missed productivity at work. To make a claim for special damages, you’ll need to keep a careful record of all accident-related expenses, and then prove that these expenses were proximately or directly caused by the intoxicated driver’s actions. To learn about how the Wetherington Law Firm can help you with this, click here.

 

If It Can’t Be Bought, It Belongs in General Damages

The purpose of a general damages settlement is to compensate you for your non-financial losses and pain. This includes things like physical suffering, psychological trauma, disability, and missed experiences. General damages are much more difficult and subjective to calculate than special damages, so it’s especially important to have an experienced lawyer to explain the seriousness of what you’ve been through and attach a fair value to it.

 

What If the Intoxicated Driver Killed Someone?

Losing a loved one to an intoxicated driver is devastating, confusing, and infuriating. The Wetherington Law Firm sympathizes with the range of difficult emotions you and your family will be facing in the aftermath of this kind of tragedy. If you’d like to learn more about wrongful death cases, how they differ from personal injury, and how we can help, click here.

 

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

Having a good lawyer can make the difference between a token sum that barely buys you a new car, and a full settlement that covers your whole recovery, with fair consideration for your pain and trouble. In addition to cataloguing and explaining the breadth of your losses, a lawyer also helps protect you from trick questions, strong-arming, and other underhanded techniques car insurance companies use to avoid paying what they owe to their policyholders’ victims. Unfortunately, getting caught off guard just once by an insurance representative can irreparably damage even the most legitimate case, so it’s important to reach out to a qualified attorney as soon as possible, to prevent problems before they start.

 

How to Hire the Best Car Wreck Lawyers in Atlanta

The Wetherington Law Firm works on contingency, which means the only payment we accept comes from the settlements we win for our clients.

 

Working with us costs you nothing up front or by the hour. From the moment we take you on as a client, we’ll work as long and hard as it takes to get you the compensation you deserve, and if we fail, you pay nothing.

 

We believe that the outcome of a case shouldn’t depend on how much each side is able to pay to keep the conflict going. By working on contingency, we’re able to represent people who need and deserve our help, without anyone having to worry about what they can afford. It’s a win-win.

 

To get started with a free consultation about your case, just give us a call at 404-888-444 or reach out through the form on the right.

 

 

The Wetherington Law Firm Believes in Making a Difference, at the One-on-One Level and Beyond

As lawyers, our first priority is to help our clients. We love getting to stand up for people who need it, one case at a time, but some of the clients we work with have loftier goals than personal compensation. They want to solve an underlying problem that contributed to their accident, to protect others from being injured in the same way. At the Wetherington Law Firm, we welcome these kinds of challenges. We’ll be happy to work with you to use your case as a starting point for driving necessary change in your community. For example, if intoxicated drivers tend to cluster around a particular business in your neighborhood, we’ll look into that business’s policies for serving already intoxicated customers and enforcing designated driver programs. To learn about other causes we’ve helped our clients pursue in the past, give us a call and ask!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you or a loved one been injured by a drunk driver?

The Wetherington Law Firm is made up of seasoned professionals who are passionate about making sure everyone with a legitimate case receives the best of representation. We don’t believe your chance to be heard in court should have anything to do with your ability to pay. That’s why we work exclusively on a contingency basis.

Contact