Hit by Drunk Driver? Here’s What to Do
You’ve likely heard the statistics. Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is injured in a drunk driving crash. While the total number of these accidents is declining, drunk driving remains the #1 cause of death on America’s roads, accounting for about one-third of all traffic-related deaths.
Those who are seriously injured in drunk-driving crashes often face significant challenges during their recovery. In addition to the physical challenges, numerous doctor’s appointments and physical therapy sessions, victims must deal with medical and hospital expenses, car repair bills and insurance company discussions, not to mention lost work time.
What should you do if you are injured in a crash that was caused by a drunk driver?
- Call 911. Seek both police and first-responder assistance.
- Monitor the actions of the drunk driver at the scene. When reporting his/her activities to the police, state what you observed in a factual manner.
- Seek Medical Help. Some injuries become much more painful after 24 hours. It’s best to visit a doctor 1-2 days after the accident and get a full checkup, establishing a record of your injuries.
- Be a witness. Drunk driving is almost always a criminal offense that can be prosecuted in court. A DUI conviction can help your case of proving driver negligence. If you choose not to testify, your chances of receiving compensation may be compromised.
- Tell the driver’s insurance company about your injuries. Your best chance of receiving financial help will be through the driver’s insurance company. Alerting the insurer shortly after the accident is best.
- Be leery of taking the first settlement offer. The driver’s insurance company will likely try to settle with you right away and prevent you from seeking further compensation. Check with an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting the first offer.
- Look for witnesses that could substantiate your claims. Did the driver share where he was coming from, or who he had been meeting with?
Is an insurance settlement my only recourse for securing my due compensation?
No. But you’ll need to prove the driver’s negligence. To win in court or to secure a large settlement, you’ll need the help of an experienced attorney to advise you on your chances of winning in court, as well as to interview witnesses, locate expert witnesses to testify, estimate the amount of wages lost, etc.