According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA), in 2018 alone, 10,511 deaths resulted from drunk driving accidents. The most recent cost-related data for deaths and damages from drunken driving was last updated in 2010 and was estimated to be upwards of $44 billion. If a drunk driver (or someone you suspect is drunk) hits you or someone you love, make sure to follow certain steps to make sure you will be eligible for the maximum amount of compensation allowed by law.
Call the police for proper documentation of the accident
Whether or not you are injured, call the police to the scene. This is always advisable but particularly important when you suspect that the driver is drunk. Calling the cops will reduce the risk the person who hit you will try to flee the scene before providing their insurance and registration information. What's more, calling the police allows for proper documentation of all relevant information. Police officers are instructed on how to record important data. So, if at all possible, try to involve them from the get-go. This type of information will aid your insurance claim, medical treatment and potential legal compensation. In some cases, law enforcement may refuse to come to the scene. If this is the case, follow these instructions for documenting relevant information.
Request medical attention immediately
Even if you and your passengers think you feel fine, do not refuse medical attention after being hit by a drunk driver. Often, injuries from accidents manifest hours (or even days) later. Medical professionals are trained to identify and assess your condition and diagnose even hidden injuries. If left unattended, some injuries may take years to heal and can even cause chronic pain. Injuries should also be documented by medical experts so that you can seek compensation during the legal process, when necessary.
Give Detailed Information to the Police
If applicable, once the police arrive at the scene, provide officers with accurate details about how the accident occured. Give only the information requested by the police, nothing more and nothing less. Some people tend to speak far more than necessary. Avoid the temptation. Answer the questions police officers ask. But resist the urge to offer extra information. One of the most important questions the police will ask is whether you were injured. Don't respond with a ‘no' to this important query. Instead, tell the police on scene that you are unsure (if you can't identify an injury on the spot). The reason for this is that right after an accident, adrenalin levels soar, which could deaden pain. In many cases, people fail to feel the full effect of injuries sustained in car accidents until two or three days (or more) following the collision.
Make a note of all the relevant information
Take time to document the accident scene. If possible, take photographs. And don't forget to photograph any visible injuries you or your passengers may have. Ask for the driver's contact details and insurance information. And if you feel uncomfortable speaking to them, rather get it ask the police. If law enforcement rejects your request to assess the accident, do the best job you can to document everything yourself. If your car and body remain unharmed, you may not need this information. But it's always better to have it on hand and not use it than to wish you had collected it at the time. Finally, ask for the accident ID number. This is provided by the police and may not be readily available. If this is the case fetch it the next day.
Contact an experienced personal injury law firm
Seek legal advice from a personal injury law firm before contacting your insurance company about your accident. Believe it or not, your insurance agency has a legal team on hand, ready to work on their behalf. So, don't try to go it alone. Drunk driving is a serious offense. And you deserve to be adequately compensated for damages, injuries and suffering which result from the actions of a drunk driver. A personal injury attorney will investigate the accident properly and secure evidence to prove that the accident was caused because of drunk driving. This will help make sure that you receive the amount of compensation you deserve.
About Moet Law Group in Ontario and Irvine, California
If you're in the Inland Empire, Los Angeles basin, Orange County or Riverside area in Southern California, contact Moet Law. Our team of specialized attorneys offer a complimentary case evaluation. We can advise you about the proper steps to take relative to your insurers, police, medical professionals, and others.