Were You Hit By A Drunk Driver? Here’s What To Do.
If you are involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, it is important that you think clearly and make the best possible decisions. The steps you take after an accident may not only affect your safety and health, it may have a significant impact on your ability to obtain compensation for your property damage and personal injuries. Anyone who has been in a car accident knows how upsetting and confusing it can be. Even if you think you will know what to do, the trauma of an accident can make even the most clear-thinking person forgetful.
The first thing you should do is to make sure that you and anyone else in your vehicle are safe. Make a quick and logical assessment of the damage to the vehicles. Is there a gas leak, is anyone bleeding or in any pain, is anyone unconscious or injured in any way? Next, if the accident scene and your injuries make it possible, get to a safe place away from traffic and the damaged vehicles. Some accident scenes, such as the case on fast-moving highways, can be dangerous. If you are conscious but unable to move, ask someone to help secure the area and direct traffic so that you are not further injured. Hazard lights and car flashers should be used to make other drivers more aware. Have someone ask drivers at the accident scene to put their flashers on.
Seek Medical Attention
It is always best to seek medical care after an accident. If you obtain medical care and don’t have any injuries, there is nothing lost except a little time. But if you don’t seek medical care and find out later that you suffered injuries then you could be causing yourself further medical problems and could be compromising any personal injury suit against the driver responsible for your injuries.
It is important that the police are called as soon as possible after an accident where someone is injured. Contacting the police or calling 911 guarantees that the proper authorities will arrive at the accident scene. If there are any injuries or property damage, it’s a good idea to have the fire department and rescue squads closely available. Having a police officer on-site will guarantee that an investigation is taken of the accident. That is particularly important if a drunk driver is involved. If you file a lawsuit against the drunk driver, the police and rescue squad personnel can testify that the driver who caused your injuries was drunk. Their testimony will make settling your case much easier.
Even if no one is injured, the police should always be called when a drunk driver is involved. If possible, make sure that the drunk driver doesn’t leave the accident scene. As citizens, we have a civic duty to prevent drunk drivers from driving on the roads. If a drunk driver asks that you not call the police, call them anyway. If you let a drunk driver leave the accident scene without calling the police you may not be able to prove later on that the drunk driver was at fault for the accident. Plus, if the drunk driver leaves the accident scene, he/she may end up hurting or killing someone else later on.
If you are injured and unable to gather information at the accident scene, ask someone such as a passerby or witnesses to do it for you. License plate numbers, vehicle types, names, phone numbers, pictures and videos of the accident scene, etc. The more details that are obtained the better. Unfortunately, drunk drivers sometimes disappear from accident scenes before they can be identified. By immediately gathering personal information, a drunk driver who leaves the accident scene can be caught later on.
Provide Accurate Information
When talking with the police, make sure that you provide accurate details of the accident. Do not exaggerate what happened, and never accept responsibility for the accident or apologize to anyone. As a general rule, people tend to say they are sorry for things they are not responsible for. It is a knee-jerk reaction that people have whenever they feel bad about something. The problem is that it makes the person who apologizes look guilty.
Report Accident to Interested Parties
Always contact your own insurance company and the state motor vehicle department after the accident. Your insurance company will need to know so that they can start a claim for you, and many states require that the motor vehicle department is contacted as well.
Talk with a Car Accident Personal Injury Attorney
Did you know that drunk driving is illegal in all 50 states and that drunk drivers breach their duty of care and can be held liable (negligent) for accidents they cause? By hiring a car accident personal injury lawyer, who has experience with drunk driving claims, you provide yourself with the best chance of obtaining the compensation you deserve. M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers has extensive experience in car accident personal injury claims against drunk drivers. For a free consultation, and legal advice, give us a call.