Hit By A Drunk Driver – What Now?
According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA), drunk driving claims more than 10,000 lives each year. This breaks down to about 30 lives a day—that’s one person every 50 minutes who dies in an alcohol-related crash. On top of this, millions more sustain injuries that can cause lifelong debilitations and emotional trauma. Needless to say, drunk driving is a serious problem across the United States.
You may be familiar with the normal steps to take after a car accident, but if you believe you were hit by a potentially drunk driver, you should know how to approach the situation.
- Call the police or 9-1-1. No matter how minor the accident seems, always call emergency services to the scene of the drunk driving accident so that both police officers and medical responders can assess the situation and act accordingly. Be sure to mention whether you believe the driver may be under the influence.
- Remain calm with the other driver. If the other driver is under the influence, you may not know how they will react or if they will become distressed, agitated, or even violent. If the driver is not in a state to hand over their driver’s license and insurance card, make sure to write down other details of the car such as the license plate number and car make and model. The officer will be able to give you the other driver’s contact and insurance details if they were unwilling to exchange information prior to police arriving at the scene of the crash.
- Take photos. If you are able to, it is highly recommended that you take several photographs showing the scene of the accident. Use your phone to take pictures of your vehicle, any other vehicles involved, and the scene surrounding the accident.
- Take note if you suspect intoxication. If you suspect that the other driver is drunk, start collecting physical evidence and taking mental notes of what is happening around you. See if there’s anything telling about their demeanor, write down what they say to you, and look for other signs of drinking, such as empty bottles or the smell of alcohol.
- Give a detailed statement to officers. When the police take your statement, make sure you tell them what happened and why you believe that the other driver may be under the influence of alcohol. The police officers can administer DUI tests to determine if the driver is, in fact, drunk and may arrest them if this is the case.
- Get medical attention immediately, if needed. An ambulance will most likely take you to a local hospital for a medical evaluation and treatment. If not, go see a doctor immediately following the accident. Medical records will be used to show that the drunk driver’s actions directly caused your injuries.
- Hire a car crash attorney. Victims of drunk drivers to be represented by a personal injury lawyer who understands drunk driving cases