A stranded motorist is dead after being struck by a possibly intoxicated driver on Interstate 85 outside of Atlanta. It is alleged that 31-year-old Ronnie Bascom hit a guardrail on the 17th Street exit ramp and exited his car to survey the damage when he was struck by a car driven by 36-year-old Joshua Taylor. Taylor’s car then smashed into a barrier and caught fire, and he had to be rescued by emergency workers. Police stated that he originally tried to tell them someone else was driving his car, and then the police had to obtain a warrant to take his blood after he refused a blood test. CBS Atlanta reports that Taylor has been charged with vehicular homicide and DUI less safe.
In Georgia, there are two types of DUI charges, “per se” violations and “less safe” violations. Per se violations are when a driver has a tested blood alcohol content (BAC) of over the legal limit of .08. Less safe violations require an officer or prosecutor to prove that the driver was actually a less safe driver due to possible impairment. Civil cases provide an easier means for those injured by a possibly drunk driver to receive compensation, though. A criminal case must prove that there is “beyond reasonable doubt” that the driver was under the influence before a crash. A civil case, on the other hand, must only argue their case based upon a “preponderance of the evidence,” which means that the driver was more likely to have been drunk than not drunk. Therefore, even if a driver was not convicted of drunk driving, they can still be found liable in a civil lawsuit.
Georgia is one of many states that has a Move Over Law, requiring drivers to give wide berth to police or emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Although this technically does not cover other stranded drivers, the law hopes to develop a culture of drivers moving to the left lane when a vehicle is stopped on the shoulder.
If a driver is determined to have been under the influence when an accident was caused, they may be found liable to pay for any resulting damages. Have you been injured in a car accident or pedestrian accident? If so, you may be eligible to seek compensation for vehicle damages, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To learn about your legal options, do not hesitate to tell us about your story in the free case review form on the right.