$100,000.00 Settlement for Drunk Driving Accident Victim
April 1, 2014
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.