Tragically, drunk drivers cause an average of 29 deaths every day.
Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is a selfish act that puts many lives at risk. Getting hit by a drunk driver is traumatizing, but following through with certain steps can protect your safety and legal rights down the line.
Read on to learn about seven things to do after getting hit by a drunk driver.
1. Assess Injuries/Call Medical Services
After getting hit by a drunk driver, assess whether or not anyone needs medical attention. Health and safety should be the main concern, even if you believe the other driver is intoxicated.
Even a minor accident should get handled by emergency services. Inform the police and medical responders of the incident so they can act accordingly. When the police arrive, mention that you believe the other driver is/was under the influence.
2. Get to a Safe Spot
Car accidents due to drunk driving often warrant a legal case. Because of this, keep your vehicle where it is so you and the police can document the accident. However, you need to get to a safe spot as you wait for the police to arrive.
3. Document Evidence
While you are waiting for the police, remain calm with the other driver. This is especially important in case the drunk driver becomes agitated, aggressive, and distressed.
The other driver may not be in the right state of mind to hand over their license and insurance information or they may be hesitant to hand it over.
If this is the case, document the details that you can, such as the license plate number and make and model of the car.
A drunk driver may try to flee the scene. It is critical that you still try to gain evidence by taking pictures of the license plate or any other incriminating evidence like empty bottles.
A video of the driver exhibiting drunk symptoms can also be used as evidence down the line.
4. Give Your Statement
A car accident with a drunk driver must involve officers responding to the scene. When they arrive, give them a detailed version of the event. Any information you gathered should get mentioned at this time.
If you believe the other driver is under the influence, an officer can administer a DUI test. If the person is drunk, they may be subject to arrest on the scene.
Be sure to provide accurate and detailed information. Speaking to law enforcement will act as your on-the-record statement.
Once you are done giving this statement, an officer should leave you with contact information. If they don’t, ask how you can get a copy of the finalized report. You will want this report if you are filing a lawsuit.
5. Get Specialized Medical Attention
An ambulance on the scene can take you to the hospital for medical evaluation and treatment if necessary. However, if you opted not to go to the hospital right away, you should still plan to get medical care. In fact, once you leave the scene, it is recommended to get care right away.
You can go to an urgent care center or visit your primary doctor within a day or two. Working with a qualified medical professional during this time is important so that your injuries can be diagnosed.
Some injuries may not show up right away. For example, whiplash is common but you may not feel pain until a day or so after the accident.
Medical records prove that the drunk driver’s actions caused your injuries directly and can help you with your claim.
6. Notify the Insurance Companies
You should notify the other driver’s insurance company and your own about a possible claim. If you did not get insurance information from the drunk driver, you can get the full accident report through the police department.
Once you have this information, notify their carrier about the potential claim and the injuries you sustained.
Be wary, an insurance company may attempt to settle with you fast. This is often not the best option to take. Explore the available insurance coverage to ensure there are no personal assets you may qualify for to satisfy the claim.
This is especially important if you or someone else in the vehicle experienced injuries or death. An early settlement means losing the right to other claims arising from the accident. A drunk driving victim’s attorney can give you advice on when it makes sense to settle and when it does not.
The next step is to notify your own insurance company. You may need extra funds if the other driver does not have insurance or has a limited plan that won’t cover your costs.
7. Hire a Drunk Driving Victim’s Attorney
When filing a lawsuit to pursue damages, it is necessary to have an attorney on your side. A car accident lawyer in Columbia, SC lawyer has experience with these incidents and can provide unbiased advice.
If the drunk driver was arrested on the scene, you have more evidence helping your civil case. Yet, a lawyer can gather more evidence to ensure you get the benefits you deserve.
During this process, there are legal requirements that must be followed. When you are hit by a drunk driver, you will want someone to handle this process for you.
What to Do When You’ve Been Hit by a Drunk Driver Explained
Getting hit by a drunk driver is no fault of your own, which is why you should seek the compensation you deserve. There are certain steps you should take to protect your rights after an accident like this.
By using this guide, you can understand exactly what to do if you are in this situation, including hiring help from a Columbia personal injury lawyer.
If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver and need assistance from someone who has your best interest in mind.
Please contact us today.
We have offices conveniently located in the Midlands of South Carolina in Lexington, Orangeburg, and Columbia.