Atlanta personal injury lawyer,
Todd Henningsen, successfully negotiated a $100,000.00 settlement on behalf of his client
who was injured in an accident where a repeat drunk driver hit the rear
of his client's vehicle. The $100,000.00 settlement was the maximum
amount available under the drunk driver's insurance policy.
After consuming numerous alcoholic beverages a repeat DUI offender made
the decision to get behind the wheel of his vehicle.
It was Memorial Day afternoon, a day where most Americans remember the
veterans that have lost their lives in defense of this country. Many spend
the holiday with family and friends enjoying good food and the beautiful
weather that May provides. It was on this day that the Defendant made
the decision to drink so much alcohol that he would later be found to
be three times over the legal limit when he crashed into the rear of our
client's vehicle and sent it crashing into the vehicle in front if it.
Due to his highly intoxicated state, the Defendant apparently did not see
(or realize) that our client's vehicle was lawfully stopped at a red
light. Eyewitness statements revealed that the Defendant never hit the
brakes as he careened into the rear of our client's vehicle at approximately
45 miles per hour. The resulting impact forced our client's vehicle
into the vehicle stopped in front of his car. The force of the impact
was so strong that it ultimately resulted in a total loss of our client's vehicle.
The police were summoned to the scene and upon interviewing the defendant,
the investigating officer noted that his pupils were tiny and asked him
if he been drinking. The defendant admitted that he had been drinking
beer. As the officer continued to question to question the defendant it
was also revealed that he had been on medication for a prior back surgery.
The defendant had difficulty telling the officer where he worked and submitted
to a series of field sobriety tests which he failed miserably.
A subsequent breath test administered to the defendant revealed a blood
alcohol concentration of .247 grams, over three times above the legal
limit. What is more telling is that the defendant did not simply enjoy
just a few drinks and make the decision to drive. Assuming that he weighed
approximately 180 lbs. our investigation revealed that he would have consumed
at least 11 alcoholic drinks in one hour.
Following his failed field sobriety tests, the Defendant was arrested by
police for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and transported to jail.
He was also issued a traffic citation for Following too Closely and No
Driver's License. The defendant would later plead guilty to all the
offenses, which can be used against him in any subsequent civil actions.
Our firm performed a diligent investigation and found that this is not
the first time that the defendant has been in trouble for driving under
the influence of alcohol. Our investigation revealed that he had two prior
arrests in various jurisdictions for the same offense.
Unfortunately, these prior arrests did little to deter the Defendant and
he again got behind the wheel of the car after he knew that he was too
intoxicated to drive.
We argued to the insurance company that not only was our client entitled
to be compensated for his injuries, but also under Georgia Law an injured
individual has a clear right to receive punitive damages, in cases where
the defendant's actions show willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness,
oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption
of conscious indifference to consequences. O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1(b).
Punitive damages are routinely awarded in
cases involving drunk drivers.
The purpose of such damages is to punish and deter the wrongdoer. In order
to punish and deter the wrongdoer, a jury is entitled to hear about prior
incidents of misconduct as a way to gauge the amount of punishment that
should be issued. This is necessary to determine that amount of punitive
damages necessary to prevent the defendant from doing the same type of activity.
We are happy to report that our client has made a good recovery from his
injuries and with the help of our firm can now recover financially from
the toll that his injuries took on his personal life.