Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience, and it can be even more challenging when the person responsible for the collision is under the influence of alcohol. If you or a loved one has been hit by a drunk driver, it is crucial to know the essential steps to take in the aftermath of the accident. This guide will provide you with practical tips and advice on what to do if you are hit by a drunk driver, and how to protect your rights and interests.
1. Prioritize safety and call for help
Immediately after the accident, your first priority should be ensuring the safety of everyone involved. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location, away from traffic. Assess the situation and check for any injuries to yourself, your passengers, or the other driver. If someone has been injured or the accident is blocking traffic, call 911 as soon as possible to report the accident and request medical assistance if needed. Inform the operator that the other driver appears to be intoxicated, as this will be important information for the responding officers.
2. Gather evidence at the scene
While waiting for the police to arrive, take the opportunity to gather as much evidence as possible. This may include:
- Taking photos of the accident scene, including damage to both vehicles, skid marks, and any other relevant details.
- Exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver.
- Speaking with any witnesses who may have seen the accident, and collecting their contact information.
- Noting any signs of intoxication in the other driver, such as slurred speech, unsteady movement, or the smell of alcohol on their breath.
It is important not to discuss the accident with the other driver or admit fault, as this could be used against you in any subsequent legal proceedings.
3. Cooperate with the police and file a report
When the police arrive, provide them with a detailed account of the accident and any evidence you have collected. Be sure to mention your suspicions about the other driver's intoxication. The officers will likely conduct a field sobriety test or breathalyzer on the suspected drunk driver, and their findings will be crucial in building your case. Request a copy of the police report, as this will be an essential piece of evidence in any personal injury claim or lawsuit.
4. Seek medical attention
Even if you do not initially feel injured, it is essential to seek medical attention after an accident. Some injuries, such as whiplash or concussions, may not be immediately apparent but can have long-term consequences if left untreated. Be sure to keep records of all medical treatments, diagnoses, and expenses, as these will be important in calculating the damages you may be entitled to.
5. Consult with a personal injury attorney
If you have been hit by a drunk driver, it is crucial to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The legal team at Restivo & Murphy LLP can help you navigate the complex legal process and pursue that you receive the compensation you deserve. If we take your case, our attorneys will:
- Evaluate your case and determine the best course of action.
- Gather evidence and build a strong case against the drunk driver.
- Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
- Represent you in court if necessary.
Being hit by a drunk driver can be a life-altering experience, but with the right guidance and support, you can protect your rights and secure the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. Contact Restivo & Murphy LLP today for a free consultation and let our experienced team help you through this difficult time.