It is a well-known fact that drinking and driving are a dangerous combination. Thousands of people are injured or killed in drunk driving accidents every year. If you are involved in a road accident with a drunk driver, you should take some crucial steps to protect your interests and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Learn more about what to do if you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver.
1. Seek medical attention immediately.
Your health and well-being should be your first priority after an accident. Even if you are not seriously injured, it is important to get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. Some injuries, such as whiplash, may not be immediately apparent but can still lead to long-term problems if left untreated.
In addition, getting medical treatment will provide documentation of your injuries which will be important later on if you need to file a personal injury claim. Ask the doctor or hospital to provide copies of all medical records and bills related to the accident. This will help calculate the total amount of damages you are entitled to.
2. Call the police.
The police will document the accident and, if necessary, arrest the drunk driver. This documentation can be extremely helpful if you pursue legal action against the driver. Many insurance companies will also require a police report before processing a claim. For example, if the drunk driver is uninsured, you may need to file what’s called an uninsured motorist claim with your own company.
3. Gather evidence at the scene of the accident.
If you can, take photos of the damage to your vehicle and get the contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident occur. This evidence will be necessary in proving your case later on. Some states have laws that require drivers to exchange insurance information after an accident, so be sure to get the other driver’s insurance information as well.
4. Contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Dealing with insurance companies after an accident can be complicated and time-consuming. An experienced car accident lawyer will handle all communication with the insurance companies and help you get the settlement you deserve. They can also assist with filing a personal injury claim if necessary.
If you decide to file a personal injury claim, it is vital to do so within the statute of limitations for your state. This is the timeframe in which you are allowed to file a claim, and if you miss the deadline, you will not be able to recover any compensation. Depending on the state, the statute of limitations ranges from two to six years.
5. Do not incriminate yourself.
It is important to be careful about what you say after the accident. Do not admit fault or apologize, as this could be used against you later on. Stick to the facts and let your attorney do the talking for you. If the police ask you questions, you can simply state that you would like to speak to your attorney before answering.
But if you are the one at fault, then you should admit that you were the one driving under the influence. Cooperate with the police and take full responsibility for your actions. This will go a long way in mitigating the damages you may owe. You will still need to contact an attorney, as you will likely be facing criminal charges and any civil action that may be taken against you.
6. File an insurance claim.
If you have collision coverage, you must file a claim with your insurance company. They will then pay for the repairs to your vehicle, minus your deductible. If the other driver is at fault, their insurance company should pay for the damages. If they are uninsured or underinsured, you may need to file a claim with your own insurance company.
Your insurance company may also require you to submit a police report, medical records, and other documentation to process your claim. Once they have all the necessary information, they will determine how much they are willing to pay. If you are not satisfied with their offer, you can negotiate with them or hire an attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Dealing with a drunk driver can be complicated and stressful. However, by following these steps, you can protect your interests and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Remember to always drive responsibly and never drink and drive. If you are ever in an accident, be sure to contact an attorney as soon as possible.