Eight Crucial Steps To Take After Being Hit By a Drunk Driver

After Being Hit By a Drunk Driver

Car accidents are harrowing and can have lasting physical and emotional effects. These effects can be more damaging if the cause of the accident is reckless and impaired driving.

It becomes pretty difficult to stay calm during these accidents, especially when you realize the cause of injury is negligence and utter lack of consideration for other people on the road.

The hazardous impact of alcohol on driving is well-documented and well-known. Alcohol-related road accidents are four times more fatal than ones without alcohol. Drunk driving is a criminal offense in every state involving financial compensation, jail time (in case of any fatality), and community service hours.

Although completely preventable, around 32 people die daily in the US in alcohol-induced crashes, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Colorado has hit a 20-year high death rate in impaired driving. In 2021, 691 people lost their lives in Colorado only, a 50% increase since 2011. Between 2009 and 2018, 1548 fatalities were reported related to drunk driving.

Drunk driving has become a huge menace, especially during the holiday season. NHTSA examined drunk-driving incidents during holidays between 2013 to 2017 throughout the country and found that 131 people died during the holiday season compared to 25 during nonholidays.

Although holidays are a miserable time to lose a loved one due to someone else’s oversight, drunk-driving accidents generally are disquieting and traumatic.

Amid the confusion and chaos of the accident, it is often hard to focus and make sense of the events. In these circumstances, seeking help and guidance from DUI victim attorneys, The O’Sullivan Law Firm would be ideal.

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Initial Steps to Take After a Drunk-Driving Accident

  1. After the accident, step aside from the vehicle and help any other passenger in the car to safety. You don’t want to be inside a damaged vehicle.
  2. Medical care is the utmost priority in such accidents, so call 911 immediately. You need both police and medical services.
  3. If possible, try to document the crime scene in as much detail. Take pictures of both vehicles and their license plates.
  4. Document any incriminating available evidence against the other driver, like slurred speech, irrational moods, alcohol odor, aggression, or any other behavior that proves that the defendant is drunk.
  5. Look for witnesses. Ask for their phone numbers and license plates.
  6. Once the police arrive, provide a detailed account of what caused the accident. Inform the police about the driver’s state so they can conduct DUI tests.
  7. Make sure to get proper medical treatment on the spot and also later on. Not only is medical care crucial for your physical and mental well-being, but these medical records will act as evidence in court later on.

After the Accident:

  1. Once satisfied with your medical assessment, look for a drunk-driving attorney to represent you. Many legal firms like O’Sullivan provide a free consultation of your case.

Why You Need a Lawyer?

  1. Although being hit by a drunk driver isn’t your fault, the legal process can be time-consuming and draining, especially when you might be dealing with injuries or, worse, a loss. An attorney will ensure you receive proper monetary compensation for all your losses.
  2. An Attorney will act as a support system in your time of need with the best intentions. Knowing that you can start rehabilitative care without worrying about court and legal proceedings is a powerful positive mental booster.
  3. Most of us aren’t aware of the intricacies of the legal and insurance system. A qualified attorney can take care of the whole process and guide you in criminal and civil courts.

You need to be familiar with the victims’ rights in such accidents. For example, most states have a two-year period to register a drunk driving claim. After that, you might be unable to get compensation for the civil damages.

  1. You might have to file a suit in both civil and criminal courts. An expert lawyer can guide you through both while protecting your best interest. A criminal conviction generally doesn’t provide adequate compensation. You might have to file a personal injury lawsuit to get fully compensated.
  2. Although a drunk driver and the fault have hit you lay with the defendant, you still have to prove in court that the driver was drunk and at fault. You need a skilled attorney to represent the complete damage the accident has caused.
  3. Most often, out-of-court settlements are reached with the drunk driver’s insurance company before a court case. Most insurance companies prefer to settle such accidents out of court.
  4. An experienced attorney can get you generous compensation for monetary losses like medical expenses, lost wages due to the inability to work, damaged property costs, and vehicle repairs. These expenses can include any future mental suffering costs too.
  5. Many insurance companies try to settle these claims with little money. Having a skilled attorney with ensure that your interests are protected during the negotiations.
  6. Your lawyer can decide when to take the case to court if a fair settlement can’t be reached.
  7. If you go for a civil lawsuit, you require good attorneys to represent you in court. In addition to civil damages, you can also be compensated for punitive damages.
  8. Sometimes, a drunk driver is uninsured or lacks enough coverage for your damages. In that case, your lawyer will negotiate with your insurance company for underinsured motorist coverage.

Conclusion:

According to NHTSA, nearly one-third of car deaths in the US result from drunk drivers.

In most cases, dealing with the aftermath of a drunk-driving accident becomes tremendously difficult. Such accidents can be life-altering, both economically and mentally.

You need all the support you can get to endure such traumatic events, and knowing what to do can ease your troubles.

In addition, it’s vital that you are well-informed about your rights and will be well-protected in dealings with insurance companies or the courts. Only expert lawyers can make the whole process a breeze in the park.

 

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