Car accidents are scary and can involve a lot of paperwork. However, if the accident is caused by a drunk driver, the situation is considerably more complex. The following is an outline of the steps to take if you are in such an accident.
The first step is always addressing your injuries. Call 911 from the scene of the accident. You may be taken to the hospital by ambulance. These accidents can be very serious and may cause lasting damage. Even relatively minor injuries should be looked at by a doctor to make sure they heal properly. Find a team of doctors that you trust to help you recover. If others are in your vehicle, assess their injuries as well. Do not try to move anyone who is seriously injured.
If you are not seriously injured, do your best to document the scene. Speak with witnesses and get their contact information. Take photographs of the scene or do a video walkthrough. If it is not possible to do this immediately following the crash, take pictures of the involved vehicles as soon as possible. Go back to the scene and document visible evidence such as skid marks.
Contact the police department that handled the accident and request a copy of the accident report. This report will contain valuable information that can help you, your lawyer and insurance company ensure that your claim is handled properly. It is important that you get this information as quickly as possible. Skid marks fade, and so do witnesses’ memories. If you are too severely injured to do this yourself, ask a friend or family member to do so on your behalf.
Contact the Insurance Companies
Call your own insurance company and that of the drunk driver. Inform them of the situation, but be sure not to agree to any settlement at this stage. The length of time you have to file a claim against a drunk driver depends on the state in which you live but is usually at least one or two years.
Retain a Lawyer
If you are injured by a drunk driver, hire a lawyer as soon as possible. While the situation may be new and confusing for you, experienced lawyers understand and can help you navigate the legal system. A good lawyer will put your mind at ease, and you will know that your case is in good hands.
As a car accident lawyer at Daniel E. Stuart, P.C. would agree with, victims who are seriously injured may be entitled to compensation for what they have been through, so it’s important to take the above steps in order to protect their best interests.