What Should I Do If I am Injured In a Drunk Driving Accident?

Despite the strict traffic rules and regulations against intoxicated driving, an average of 32 people are killed every day in drunk driving accidents in the U.S. Almost everyone is familiar with the dangers of drunk driving, yet, people continue to get behind the wheel when intoxicated, posing a threat to themselves and other road users. Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents are common across the country, comprising around 30% of traffic collisions. Knowing what to do if you get hurt in a drunk driving accident is important. To learn more, please continue reading.

At the Accident Site

Getting injured in a drunk driving accident can entitle you to compensation for your losses, but before you exercise your right to seek damages, here are some things you should do at the accident site.

Remain at the Scene

If you are involved in an accident, you should remain at the site until the local authorities arrive. If staying inside the vehicle is unsafe, you can get out and move to a safe spot near the vehicle. You should not leave the accident site even if you are not at fault for the accident. Leaving the scene of the accident could prevent you from obtaining evidence that is crucial for your case. It could also result in a hit-and-run case against you.

You may also be required by state laws to report the accident to law enforcement officers. After you report the accident, remain at the site until the police arrive. The police report can have crucial information for your insurance claim or lawsuit, including eyewitness statements and contact information of the other party involved in the accident.

Get Medical Attention

 Drunk driving accidents can lead to severe injuries, so assessing your injuries after the collision is essential. Seeking medical attention is necessary to treat serious injuries. You may need to go to an emergency center for more severe injuries. According to Lewis & Castagliola, P.A. – Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in St Petersburg, drunk driving accidents can lead to severe injuries, including organ damage, broken bones, cuts, and burns. 

Some injuries, including traumatic brain or internal injuries, can have delayed symptoms and take a few days to manifest. Emergency medical providers can diagnose your injuries and treat them to prevent severe complications. You should also get treatment, as not doing so can be bad for your health and your case. Your lack of treatment could be used as evidence that your injuries were not serious.

Gather Evidence

At the accident site, you should document the damage by taking photos or videos. Ideally, you want to take photos and videos from different angles to be used as solid evidence in your claim or lawsuit. If the driver of the other vehicle is present, you should ask them to share their insurance and contact information. Any witness statements can also help reinforce your case.

After the Accident

After you are in stable health and have gathered all the evidence from the accident site, it is time to seek compensation for your damages. If you were at fault for the accident, you would need to build a solid defense against the accusation. Here is what you should do after you have left the accident site.

Contact an Attorney

After the accident, you can seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who is well-informed about the state laws regarding DUI accidents. They can guide you on what steps you take after the accident.

Your attorney can talk to the eyewitnesses to gather expert testimonials for your case. They can also help you calculate a reasonable estimate of all your damages and offer you professional representation in court if the case goes to trial.

An attorney can also help you with the claim process because whether you caused the accident or not, you would have to inform your insurance company. Even if you do not contact them on your own, they will try to contact you. In some cases, insurance companies can try to negotiate an unreasonably low offer. An attorney can educate you on the common tactics insurance companies use to reduce their payout.

Revealing unnecessary information to the insurance company can be detrimental to your case. Therefore, you should allow an attorney to handle the communication. If the insurance company offers to settle the issue outside of court, the attorney can review the settlement offer and advise you on whether to accept or take the case to court.

Get a Copy of the Expenses

Once you start receiving treatment for your injuries, it is vital to collect the receipts for all your medical and property repair expenses. You should also keep track of your lost wages due to your injuries and additional out-of-pocket expenses. Having a complete record of all your expenses can help you recover maximum compensation for the accident.

Establishing Liability for the Drunk Driving Accident

When you get hurt in an accident, you must prove that the other driver was responsible for your injuries or damages. Generally, you would need to prove that:

  • The other driver had a duty to provide reasonable care to you.
  • That duty was breached due to the negligence of that driver.
  • You sustained injuries and financial losses due to that breach of duty.

In some cases, the insurance company or law enforcement agencies can conduct investigations to establish fault in the case.

Some states also follow the comparative negligence rule. According to this rule, if the injured party also shares fault in the accident, their compensation is adjusted according to their percentage of the fault. So, for example, if you were at fault for 40% of the accident, you can only recover 60% of the damages from your injury claim or lawsuit.

Establishing liability in drunk driving cases can be complicated, so you should get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer. They can help you prove the liability of the other driver by gathering sufficient evidence and increasing your chances of a favorable outcome.

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