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What to Do if You've Been Hit by a Drunk Driver

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What to Do if You've Been Hit by a Drunk Driver

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one in three people are likely to be involved in a drunk driving collision, with drunk driving accidents accounting for 28 percent of fatalities on the road. Even when a drunk driving collision does not result in deaths, it often involves massive damage to property and physical harm for both parties. If you find yourself involved in an accident with a drunk driver, it can be a frightening experience and worrisome as you consider how to pay for the damages incurred, such as medical bills and lost wages. If you or a loved one were involved in a collision with a drunk driver, here are some immediate steps to take to protect yourself and your family:

Call for emergency medical assistance and move to a safe location.

Immediately after a collision with someone you suspect may be a drunk driver, it is imperative that you call for emergency medical assistance and move to a safe location out of the way of traffic and debris if possible. Even if you don’t feel injured after a wreck, it’s wise to seek medical care. Many injuries may not be felt for days or weeks after an accident, and waiting to seek care could affect the strength of your case further down the road.

Report the collision to law enforcement.

It’s also important to call for emergency services so that law enforcement can be called to the scene of the collision and begin an immediate investigation. Even over a short time, evidence that is immediately present at the scene can be scattered, lost, or hidden, so it’s essential that law enforcement has a chance to investigate the scene when it is as close as possible to the condition during the wreck.

Avoid making any verbal or written statements.

It’s essential that you avoid making any statements to the other driver, passengers, witnesses, and even law enforcement that could lead them to infer you are admitting any kind of fault. Even a simple statement like a blanket apology can be used against you in court to argue your part in the accident, even when the collision may have been entirely the other driver’s fault.

Get contact information of witnesses.

It’s a good idea to ask for the contact information of any witnesses or potential witnesses to the collision. If these witnesses can provide a testimony that the drunk driver was behaving erratically before, during, or after the wreck, you may have an even stronger case against the other driver than you would have without.

Collect evidence.

Even before law enforcement arrives, if you are able it is a good idea to begin collecting evidence in the form of pictures, videos, and witness testimonies. Pictures and videos should record the state of both vehicles, the surrounding area of road, any injuries, and any damaged property nearby. This evidence can later be used to support your case and seek compensation for your damages. If you are unable to collect evidence due to your injuries, it’s a good idea to ask a family member or friend to drive to the scene and collect the evidence on your behalf as soon as possible after the accident.

Record the events as you remember them.

Another type of evidence exists in the form of your written account of what you remember before, during, and after the collision. Take a moment as soon as possible after the wreck, to write down these events exactly as you remember them. This record of events can further support your case in the future.

Remain at the scene until police dismiss you or you are taken to the hospital.

It’s wise to remain at the scene of the collision until you are dismissed by law enforcement or taken to the hospital for medical care. Leaving the scene before being dismissed could be interpreted as an admission of some kind of guilt or other suspicious circumstance.

Contact a lawyer.

If you or a loved one have been injured/killed in a drunk driving accident, it’s wise to seek legal counsel. Factors exist in a collision involving a drunk driver that may not be present in a run-of-the-mill car accident. An experienced personal injury attorney will know what evidence is available and how to use it to seek the best compensation possible for you and your family after a collision with a drunk driver.

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