Articles Posted in DUI Accidents & Dram Shop

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The upcoming holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for emergency rooms throughout the country and in Atlanta.  Injuries and accidents are more common during this time, and there are a number of reasons people find themselves having to go for treatment at an overcrowded ER from food poisoning and alcohol related accidents to kitchen and fire accidents.

Here are some ways you can help reduce your chances of requiring a visit to the ER this holiday season.

While indulging in your Thanksgiving feast, take steps to avoid being exposed to food poisoning. Be sure not to consume undercooked or expired food, and always be aware of any food recall notices

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As you’re making plans to ring in the New Year, make sure you are not unwittingly breaking Georgia laws if you are hosting a New Year’s Eve party this year.

While you want your guests to enjoy your event, if you are planning on serving alcohol, you should be aware of the fact that you could be held accountable for your guests’ actions after they have had a few drinks at your party. That accountability is outlined under Georgia’s dram shop and social host liability laws.

Under Georgia law, a social host, or a person who hosts an event or a party, may be held liable for any injuries caused by persons who have consumed alcohol served by the host. In other words, you could be held accountable for serving alcohol to a person who leaves your event and causes an accident that results in injuries.

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There are a number of parties that can be held accountable in any drunk driving accident. But did you know that there are some parties that may not seem directly involved in the accident, but can still be held liable in a civil claim?

One of the most obvious parties that can be held liable in a drunk driving accident claim is the intoxicated driver.  However, victims may also hold liable the commercial establishment that served or sold the alcohol before the accident.  These claims are filed under Georgia’s dram shop statute, which allows commercial drinking establishments such as pubs, restaurants, clubs, or liquor stores, to be held accountable in those cases in which drivers drank alcohol sold by the establishment just before an accident.

If the commercial establishment willfully and knowingly serves or sells alcohol to a person below the age of 21, or to a person who is noticeably intoxicated, the establishment can be held liable in an accident claim involving the customer if he or she then drives and causes an accident.  In addition, the establishment must be aware that the person will be operating a motor vehicle at the time of serving or selling him or her alcohol. This is an important element to proving your claim.

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Many accidents that are caused when a vehicle veers out of its lane and hits another car are believed to be the result of motorists being sleep deprived, driving under the influence alcohol or drugs, or suffering a serious medical condition. A new study confirms this.

According to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, incapacitation was the key factor in approximately 34% of lane-drift accidents studied as part of the research. Incapacitation here refers to a motorist dozing off while sleeping, blacking out in a medical emergency, or passing out under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The research focused on approximately 630 lane-drift accidents that occurred between 2005 and 2007, and found that in approximately 17% of the accidents, the driver fell asleep at the wheel just before the accident. In another 17% of the crashes, the driver either blacked out at the wheel due to drug or alcohol use, or suffered a medical emergency like diabetic shock, seizure or heart attack.

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In addition to the at-fault driver, it is possible to hold other people or entities responsible for injuries caused in a drunk driving accident.  Under Georgia’s dram shop laws, sellers and servers of alcohol can be sued for monetary compensation if they have acted negligently.

Dram shop liability refers to the exposure commercial establishments such as restaurants, bars, liquor stores, hotels, or clubs have related to the sale of alcohol to customers. Georgia’s dram shop laws make a commercial drinking establishment like a pub or club liable for damages if the establishment serves alcohol to minors under the age of 21. The laws also allow an alcohol provider to be held liable when an establishment serves alcohol to a person who is noticeably intoxicated and is likely to drive a car after.

It is important to understand that an experienced dram shop attorney often makes all the difference in these complex cases.  For example, the dram shop laws in Georgia do require that commercial establishment employees be aware that an intoxicated person intends to operate a motor vehicle after drinking. That makes it more challenging for drunk driving accident victims and their families to hold a commercial establishment legally liable for damages.  Staff members frequently claim that they had no way of knowing how the intoxicated person would travel after leaving the drinking hole.

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Ignition interlock devices that prevent drivers who have alcohol in their systems from operating a motor vehicle can help reduce the rate of traffic accident fatalities by as much as 15%.

Those are the results of a new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. The study used crash data from 18 states that currently have laws requiring ignition interlock devices for all motorists convicted of DUI. The researchers found a 15% cut in the rate of traffic accident fatalities in states that require ignition interlock devices for anyone convicted of driving while impaired.

In states that had these universal laws, 915 lives were saved in accidents during the study period from 2007 to 2013.  Other studies have also indicated that states with mandatory ignition interlock laws reduce the likelihood that a previous offender will be arrested for drunk driving.

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Calendar year 2015 did not provide great news for motorists in Georgia. Not only was there a spike in the total number of people killed in car accidents across the state last year, but there also appears to be a rise in the number of people killed in alcohol-related car accidents.

The rise in Georgia’s car accident fatalities numbers is concerning. After declines were reported for close to nine consecutive years, traffic accident death numbers actually increased in 2015. In 2015, more than 1,300 people died in car accidents, and at least 25 % of those fatalities are estimated to have involved an impaired motorist.

The 25% number has not been confirmed yet, because the final numbers are still being compiled. Exact details about the alcohol percentage in each of these fatalities is not yet known, but based on past data, it’s quite reasonable to believe that the 2015 numbers involving drunk driving was very high. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that two years ago, 27% all traffic accident fatalities were directly linked to intoxicated motorists. It can take months for lab results to arrive and be verified, and final statistics for 2015 will not be confirmed until months from now. However, all initial indicators point to an increase in the number of people killed as a direct result of being involved in an accident with an intoxicated motorist.

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You know who doesn’t take the day off for Labor Day? The police! As a matter of fact, law enforcement departments across the country have announced they’re cracking down on careless driving and DUIs this weekend like never before.

There’s good reason for that.

Labor Day is the second deadliest holiday in America. (Only Thanksgiving claims more lives.) Each year, this single weekend sees tens of thousands of arrests on the highways, and the overwhelming majority of them are for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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Independence Day is the holiday highlight of the summer, but it’s also the deadliest weekend of the year where traffic accidents are concerned.

So before the parades roll out, the cymbals clash, and sparklers light the sky, we want to issue an important word of warning to all our clients, neighbors, and friends in the community: people will be driving under the influence of alcohol this weekend.

Each year, DUI ranks as the #1 cause of death for travelers during the Fourth of July. These are preventable deaths caused by the careless decisions of revelers who take the party too far. You don’t have to be one of their victims.

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New data released by a major insurance company indicates that single-vehicle motorcycle accident claims accounted for the highest number of claims processed in 2014.

The data were released by insurer Progressive Corp., which said that it processed 3.4 times more single-vehicle motorcycle accident claims in 2014. These single-vehicle accidents typically involved intoxicated driving or loss of control due to excessive speed.

According to Progressive, it processed more single-vehicle motorcycle accident claims than rear-end accident claims, crashes at intersections, and stolen motorcycles combined. That means that motorcyclists must be more careful and vigilant about their surroundings at all times.