I-75 Northbound Exit 146, Peach County, GA
58-year-old Leonard E. Suits, Jr., of Knoxville, was reportedly struck and killed by an impaired driver Saturday, April 11, 2015.
According to The Macon Telegraph, Mr. Suits had stopped in an emergency lane off the I-75 Exit 146 ramp in Peach County, shortly after 8:30pm Saturday evening. Mr. Suits was apparently traveling as a passenger in a vehicle, which had become disabled due to road debris. Media reports indicate Mr. Suits was standing in the triangular hazard area, which separates the interstate from the exit ramp, when he was struck by a Dodge Caravan attempting to exit the interstate. Mr. Suits perished at the scene.
Police have allegedly charged the Caravan driver with driving under the influence and vehicular homicide.
Our Legal Take
While relieved the allegedly impaired driver has reportedly been charged, The Murray Law Firm is questioning whether any other factors may have contributed to this tragedy.
Where did the allegedly impaired driver consume alcohol prior to the incident? Was is at a restaurant, bar, or other business? If so, a potential Dram Shop claim may exist.
As the details of this accident continue to emerge, and if the Caravan driver is deemed to be at-fault, the family of Leonard Suits, Jr. may seek to pursue a legal claim for negligence with the driver’s insurance carrier. Negligence, under Georgia law, is generally defined as a lack of the degree of care which would have been exercised by an ordinarily prudent person under the same or similar circumstances. Where negligence exists, the injured person or that person’s family may be entitled to an award of damages that could include, among other items, compensation for: pain and suffering; loss of wages and future earning capacity; loss of consortium; and, emotional distress. If the facts of this matter warrant a negligence claim, it would not only be an avenue of justice for the family of Mr. Suits, but would also serve as a critically-needed message to all Georgia drivers on the perils of impaired driving.
In addition to a negligence claim, the Suits family may have a potential Dram Shop case against any entity that served alcohol to the allegedly impaired driver prior to the incident. Generally, under Dram Shop laws, a restaurant, bar, or other business may be held liable for injuries caused by a drunk driver if it can be shown that: (a) the driver was visibly intoxicated at the time the alcohol was served; and, (b) the business had reason to believe the visibly intoxicated individual would soon be operating a motor vehicle.
Based upon its prior experience in handling Georgia pedestrian accident claims and Dram Shop cases, The Murray Law Firm suggests that photographs and a thorough inspection of the scene will need to be performed immediately on behalf of the Suits family before any evidence may be repaired, altered, damaged or destroyed. Additionally, it is critical that the prior whereabouts of the reportedly drunk driver be quickly obtained so that evidence such as surveillance video and register receipts are not compromised. It is imperative that the Suits family retain a local attorney well-versed in Georgia pedestrian accident and Dram Shop claims immediately to ensure all evidence is preserved and their best interests are protected.
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The Murray Law Firm has extensive and sucessful experience in both representing victims of pedestrian accidents and pursuing Dram Shop cases in Georgia, and we offer our legal expertise in this potential claim, if desired. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 888.842.16. Consultations are free and confidential.
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