Car accidents are one of the most common ways that people get hurt or die in the United States. A person in a car accident is likely to lose money and hurt themselves. When these things happen, they hurt the driver’s health. It’s hard to get better after a car accident when your mind is full of questions.
If this has happened to you or someone you care about, you should hire a car accident lawyer. As the name implies, car accident lawyers help car owners with legal issues that come up after an accident. These car accident lawyers give their clients legal advice and help them solve their problems.
What to do right away after a drunk driver hits you
If a drunk driver hits you, your life can change in an instant. One minute you’re on your way to work, and the next you’re hurt and have to deal with police officers, doctors, insurance adjusters, and lawyers.
After an accident caused by a drunk driver, you will probably feel confused and angry. Try to stay as calm as you can and take the steps below to protect yourself and get ready for a possible claim or lawsuit after a car accident.
Nothing is more important than taking care of your body and mind. Call 911 right away if you or anyone else hurt in the accident needs help. You’ll get the medical care you need, and you’ll have proof of your injuries and the costs of your care.
Call the cops
Also, call the police. An officer will talk to everyone involved and write a report about what happened. When you think a drunk driver hit you, you must call the police right away. A police officer can have the driver do field sobriety tests and take a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test.
You and the government can use the officer’s observations at the scene and the driver’s BAC test results as key pieces of evidence against the driver in both civil and criminal court.
Change information about insurance and how to reach you
Ask the police to help you exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. You’ll need to know the driver’s full name, license number, license plate number, and information about their car insurance.
Write down what you see
It’s a good idea to get the names and phone numbers of people who saw an accident happen. You should also take pictures of the accident scene, including all of the cars involved, street signs, traffic signals, and the way the light is shining.
But don’t get in the way of the police investigation. A DUI accident is the scene of a crime that could be very bad. Most DUIs that cause injury or death are charged as felonies, and the punishment is usually months or years in prison. You can use the information that an investigating officer finds in your own insurance claim or lawsuit.
Talk to an attorney
Accidents caused by DUI are often serious, complicated, and have both criminal and civil consequences. If a drunk driver hurts you, you might think that your civil case will be easy to win and that you don’t need a lawyer. But a DUI lawyer can help you figure out how much money you should get and then get it.
Is an accident always the fault of a drunk driver?
You might think that an accident caused by a drunk driver is always the drunk driver’s fault, but that’s not always the case.
After an accident caused by a drunk driver, the person who wants to sue (the “plaintiff”) usually has to show:
The drunk driver (the “defendant”) owed the plaintiff (the “plaintiff”) a duty of care. The drunk driver broke that duty (violated it), and the plaintiff was hurt as a result. This is called “damage.”
All drivers have a responsibility to drive safely, and driving while drunk is a way to break that responsibility. But what if the accident wasn’t caused by the driver being drunk? For instance, what if you hit the back of a drunk driver at a red light? Or, what if you run a red light and hit a drunk driver head-on? In these situations, the accident might not be the drunk driver’s fault. The drunk driver would still go to jail for DUI, but he or she might not have to pay for your injuries and other losses.
If you and the drunk driver are both to blame for the accident, your state’s comparative fault rules will apply. In some states, you may not be able to get anything at all if you were even a little bit to blame for the accident.
How accident settlements work when someone drives drunk
Before you rush to the courthouse to file a lawsuit, you should try to settle with the drunk driver’s insurance company. Every state has rules about how much insurance a driver must have. If you file a third-party claim against the car insurance company of a drunk driver, you might be able to get a good settlement for your injuries.
When you talk to the drunk driver’s insurance company, you will have the upper hand. Insurance companies know that a jury is likely to side with you instead of the drunk driver, so they will be very motivated to come to a deal with you before the case goes to court.
People who are hurt in DUI accidents can usually get compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Past and future lost income, the cost to fix or replace damaged property, rental car reimbursement, and pain and suffering (mental and physical).
The goal of compensatory damages is to make the person who was hurt whole again by paying for all of their losses because of the accident. Some DUI victims may also be able to get punitive damages in almost all states. These are meant to punish drunk drivers, especially for bad behavior. But to get punitive damages, you usually have to go to court because they aren’t part of most car accident settlements.
Car accidents that hurt or kill people are complicated disasters that need the help of a commercial vehicle accident lawyer for personal injury cases or insurance claims. It’s hard to travel alone in these situations because you need a lot of proof, statements from witnesses, and other things. Proving that your injuries came from a car accident can be hard and require paperwork, but it will help you get what you deserve for your injuries. If you weren’t to blame for the accident, you shouldn’t have to pay for the damage it did.