Did you get hit by a drunk driver? Every driver knows the dangers of driving under the influence, so a law abider will not sneak any drinks in before going behind the wheel.
They will simply take a walk or a cab instead of their car. However, not everyone does that, and you may very well be hit by a drunk driver yourself.
Around 28 people from the United States die every day because of drinking and driving, many of them being the victim of the other driver. If you were the victim and were injured by a car crashing into you, then you need to seek justice. Here are the steps you should take if you were a survivor of such an accident.
Call the Police
Immediately after being hit, no matter how small the crash may be, you should call the police officer to the scene. Bear in mind that most of these drivers will attempt to negotiate with you first, to not get the police involved. Don’t listen to them, as this might end up being your loss.
When you call the police, you need to inform them about the location, who was involved in the accident, whether anyone was injured in the accident or not, and whether you believe the person who hit you was drunk or not. The police will need this information, as they will bring the right tools and people to get proof (i.e., a breath analyzer or a professional to take a blood test).
At this point, you must remain calm. If the other driver is drunk, then you may not know how they will react if they become stressed or agitated. They may even turn violent if they see you looking at them the wrong way. Stay calm, don’t start arguing with the driver, and take a look at the situation.
Look for signs that the car might combust, and if necessary, move away. By keeping calm until the police arrive, you’ll avoid having even more problems. Assess the situation so that you can give the police the information that they need.
Give a Statement
Once the police get to the scene, you need to give a detailed statement. Everything you saw or heard in the accident. You may want to mention that the other driver is drunk, but you will also need to specify why you think that, without making an assumption.
For instance, you may believe that they are currently intoxicated because they had slurred speech when talking to you. They may have glassy or watery eyes – or the biggest giveaway, their breath may smell like alcohol each time they open their mouth.
The police need to know about this. If they didn’t plan on taking a breath analyzer test before, your statement will surely convince them that they should. It can also potentially help you if you are planning to build a case against them. Otherwise, they may turn their attention to you, even if it may not have been your fault.
Get the Information
You’ve been a victim of an accident – and if you were also driving your own car, then you probably took on some damage as well. You need to get the other person’s insurance card and driver’s license. You may also need to give them your own information.
If the drunk driver is in no condition to talk or give you their information, you may want to write down the details of the car – perhaps even take some pictures as soon as you can, to be safe. This includes the license plate number, the car’s make, colour as well as the model of the car. It’s crucial to get information about the other driver’s car if they do a hit-and-run. The police will do their best to find the culprit afterward.
Gather the Evidence After Being Hit by a Drunk Driver
If you can, you might want to gather as much evidence at the site as you possibly can. For example, in Richmond, police officers are required to take pictures of the accident, but you may also gather your own. Later on, a Richmond DUI lawyer will take that evidence and bring it to the drunk driver’s insurance company, following state law.
Take pictures of the car damage, its position, lane markings, or street signs – anything that may appear relevant to the accident. If any people witnessed the accident, then you may want to get their contact information as well. They will help your case as they will be able to provide testimony in court.
Get Medical Attention
After getting hit, make sure that you receive medical attention. If you don’t want to call an ambulance to the scene, you might want to get yourself checked as soon as possible. Many people experience an adrenaline rush during an accident, as the stress increases their heart rate and triggers epinephrine in their blood.
This will decrease the body’s ability to feel pain, causing you to underestimate your injuries. If you claim right away that you are fine, then you might not be able to build a personal injury lawsuit. Getting yourself checked immediately will help your case.
Hit by a Drunk Driver – Get a Lawyer
Now that everyone is home safely, it is time to hire a lawyer to represent you in your case. Do not try to represent yourself, as you may not have the necessary knowledge of the law and the loopholes that might cause you to lose your case.
An attorney will ensure that the one who crashed into you is held fully responsible and that they pay you in full for the damage. This way, you should be able to get the most out of your insurance claim.
Talk to the Insurance Company of the Driver
You should notify the driver’s insurance company of your possible claim. Your accident report will feature this information. It’s essential to tell the carrier about your injuries and make a claim as soon as you can.
But you should also be very careful. If the driver that hit you was drunk, their insurance company may rush to settle with you. You should look for all the available insurance coverage and make sure that there aren’t any personal assets that could satisfy your claim.
Do not rush to accept any early settlements, or else you will agree to sign a release that will not allow other claims to arise from the situation. While it may be okay to settle in some cases, you should not jump in right away.
Your lawyer will advise you on what to do if the drunk driver’s insurance company tries to get an early settlement.
Talk to Your Own Insurance Company
If the driver that hit you is not insured, then you may want to contact your own insurance company as soon as you can. Report the accident, and give them the details that you just gathered on the scene.
Don’t leave out anything; from the damage to the car to the injuries that you sustained, everything is important for your case. Your insurance company should be able to help you receive compensation.
Hit by a Drunk Driver The Bottom Line
Getting hit by a drunk driver can put a lot of stress on you. Not only will it leave your car ruined, but it can also cause long-withstanding health damage. This is why you need to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.