What should I do after being hit by a drunk driver?
Drunk drivers are a danger to themselves and others, which is why those who choose to drive under the influence can be held responsible both criminally and civilly. If you have been hit by a drunk driver, take steps to ensure your safety, the safety of others, and to preserve evidence so that justice can be served.
What follows are some of the ways you can do these things.
Safety first: Check for injuries
After any car accident, safety is the highest priority. Check on yourself and others in both cars to see if there are any serious injuries.
If there are any injuries, or if you have any reason to believe the other driver has been drinking, call 911 immediately. The dispatcher will send police to document the accident and any emergency services that are needed.
Inspect the vehicles and protect the scene
If your vehicle can still be driven, move it off the road and put on your flashers and set out flares if necessary; it is common for disabled vehicles from one accident to trigger additional accidents by blocking the roadway.
If you can, take photos of the vehicles, as well as the scene from every angle and even including any signs of the driver’s intoxication. Make sure you get photos of the other driver’s vehicle and license plate number in case they attempt to leave the scene.
Report the accident
If you called 911, the police should be on their way. Tell the officers what happened so they can include it in their report.
You should receive a business card or some instructions on how to obtain the police report once it is finished. It may take a couple of days to access it, but you will need it for insurance and litigation purposes.
Watch out for drivers who try to avoid calling the police or working through insurance. If the other driver offers to make a deal to take care of it privately, be wary; you are likely to get short-changed, and there is a chance they could balk when it comes time to pay for the damages.
Call your insurance company
Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, you should let your insurance company know about it as soon as possible. You likely have a contractual obligation to provide prompt notice of accidents. Failing to do so can be considered a breach of contract and put any recovery from the policy at risk.
Seek medical care
Regardless of whether you were injured seriously enough to be transported by ambulance, you should seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible. If you have obvious injuries, that means going to a hospital or an urgent care facility. In other cases, it could mean receiving a checkup from your doctor within the first couple of days.
Not every car accident injury can be detected immediately. Traumatic brain injuries and whiplash are two classic examples of injuries that can be very serious but do not always appear right away. Improve your recovery time by getting checked out right away.
Speak with an attorney
Find a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer with experience in drunk driving cases as soon as possible. You may need to balance the civil and criminal court systems at the same time, so expertise in these complex cases is important.
Your attorney will handle necessary communications for you; do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company or other representatives– because your attorney will take care of that.
Your attorney will also instruct you not to make other statements, or even social media posts, related to the accident– that could be used to undermine your claim. Even though you are not accused of a crime, everything you say can and will be used against you.
Get expert advice from an attorney
No two car accidents are the same, but drunk driving cases present unique legal issues. To increase your chances of receiving full compensation for your injuries, speak with a Pittsburgh car accident attorney who understands these complex cases.
Our team is committed to representing the rights of personal injury victims. Our attorneys have recovered over $1 billion on behalf of those who have been hurt by someone else’s negligence. If you or a loved one have suffered in a drunk driving car accident, call us today to schedule a free consultation.