All car collisions have the potential to change a person’s life in devastating ways, causing extensive damage, catastrophic injuries, or even a fatality, but crashes caused by drunk drivers are especially upsetting because they are completely preventable. We hope that you never get behind the wheel while intoxicated and that you encourage friends, loved ones, and the people around you to do the same. And if you are the victim of a collision caused by a drunk driver, review our drunk driving car accident tips to protect your rights.
Drunk Driving Car Accident Tips
If you are struck by someone that you suspect has been drinking, it is important for you to follow several critical drunk driving car accident tips both at the scene of the accident and after you leave the scene. Taking these steps can help to preserve your legal rights to recover compensation and also hold the drunk driver accountable for his or her actions.
Remain at the scene until help arrives.
After the collision occurs, stop your vehicle and stay at the scene until help arrives. Take a picture of the drunk driver’s license plate so that he or she can be tracked if he or she tries to flee. Call the police to report the accident, and check yourself, any passengers, and the other driver for injuries. Provide first aid to any people that are injured if you are able to do so. Ask for the other driver’s information, including his or her name, phone number, registration, and insurance. Make a note of any observations that lead you to believe that he or she is under the influence of alcohol.
Take pictures and videotapes.
We have seen it all, from drunk drivers falling on the ground, to beer cans falling out of the car door, to worse. While you are waiting for the police to arrive, take pictures of the damage to both cars. You should also take broader photographs of the scene, including anything that shows signs of drinking or intoxication. Photograph any traffic lights, skid marks, speed limit signs, and other important details. You can take photographs with your phone, and it might be a good idea to also document the scene and the damage with a video. Photographs and videos are important types of evidence because they can help an accident reconstruction expert determine what happened in the accident. You should also take photographs of any injuries that you or your passengers suffered.
Talk to the officer and any witnesses.
When the police arrive, tell them what happened. Make certain to inform the officers about any observations of the other driver that have made you believe that he or she is a drunk driver. For example, tell the officers about such things as the scent of alcohol, slurred speech, an unsteady gait, or bloodshot eyes. In some cases, police officers might not notice the signs that a person is drunk when they are dealing with the aftermath of an accident. By telling the police officers about your observations, you will make it more likely that they will ask the driver to undergo a blood alcohol content (BAC) test.
If any people witnessed the accident, get their names and contact details, including email addresses, physical addresses, and phone numbers. If the police officers haven’t yet arrived, ask the witnesses to stick around if possible, as the police officers may wish to speak to them as well.
Get medical attention.
After you have talked to the police and been released from the scene, seek medical attention immediately. It is important for you to see a doctor for a thorough examination after the collision to identify all of the injuries that you suffered. Make certain to follow your doctor’s recommendations for any follow-up care, and save documentation of your medical appointments and the care that you receive for your injuries. In addition to saving your medical records, save records related to any income losses that you have suffered as a result of your accident.
Attend the drunk driver’s court hearings.
You should attend all of the drunk driver’s court hearings in his or her criminal case. Helping the prosecution by being available to testify can help to ensure a conviction. The drunk driver’s conviction can serve as strong evidence to support your civil case against the drunk driver.
Get help from an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Finally, seek help from an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the collision. A lawyer can help you understand the types of evidence that you will need to make your claim as strong as possible. And if you get help early, your attorney will have more time to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of your case, which will make it more likely that you can recover the maximum compensation available to you.