Car accidents are often severe and traumatic for everyone involved. When a car crash happens, those involved are caught by surprise and must regain their bearings to understand what just happened. When it becomes apparent that a drunk driver is to blame for the collision, the reactions can be even more volatile. After being hit by a drunk driver, it is important to stay calm and follow some basic steps.
Make Sure Everyone is Okay
There is a lot to process in the moments after a serious drunk driving car wreck, but it is important to act calmly and fast. Ensuring the well-being of the people involved is paramount.
One of the most important steps after a car accident is to ensure the safety of everyone involved. In the moments following a crash, people may not realize that they are injured because of adrenaline and other emotional factors. Drivers who are hit should check on their own passengers as well as the occupants of the other vehicle.
Prevent Subsequent Accidents
The delicate medical conditions of some accident victims may indicate that they should not be moved. If that is not an issue, moving cars out of the road may be the best way to avoid another car accident. If there is no danger of additional accidents, it might be best to leave the crash scene undisturbed. In any event, the cars’ engines should be turned off and the hazard lights should be turned on.
Call for Help
The emergency authorities should be notified of any car accident so they can make a police report, which is an official record of the crash. It is important to get the intoxicated driver off the road as well. Even if the injuries and damage are minor, a police officer should be called to the scene to make sure that the unsafe driver does not get back into their vehicle in their current condition.
Remain Calm and Focused
After a collision, it can be difficult to remain levelheaded. A driver under the influence of alcohol may not be lucid, or they may become combative as they realize the legal trouble their actions have caused. Despite the condition of the other driver, it is best to remain calm and cooperative. Staying calm also helps the innocent victims to focus on the steps that will protect their rights.
While it can be useful to obtain contact and insurance information from the other driver, that information will be included on the police report. It may be better to avoid confrontation and let the police handle gathering that official information. However, some evidence gathering can be done from a distance, like making note of the make, model, color, and license plate number of the other car, as well as making notes of their condition and other relevant observations.
Seek Medical Treatment
Another wise approach that protects victims’ rights is for them to seek medical attention. Waving away an opportunity to get checked out on the scene may limit a possible claim to collect damages for injuries. Being evaluated for possible injuries can lead to the first documentation of a condition that may eventually become more serious if it is not treated right away.
Cooperate With the Authorities
Provide a clear and helpful statement to the police. Be as detailed as possible about what can be recalled, but avoid embellishing or speculation. The officers will handle a sobriety test and possible arrest at their discretion. An accident victim who is building a case against a drunk driver should start immediately.
Gathering evidence to support a case against the drunk driver should begin right away and be used in conjunction with other post-accident records. Take notes, photographs, videos, and witness statements to help verify what happened in the accident. Record all damage to vehicles, skid marks, accident debris, and related injuries. Another possible source of evidence might be video footage from nearby surveillance cameras. It is also crucial to get the official police report. A driver can obtain a copy of the official police report and share it with their insurance company.
Whether it is official filings, medical records and bills, property repair estimates, or other relevant documents, accident victims should keep all records. They should also make notes about conversations they have with insurance representatives and other officials that might affect their claim.
Speak to a Lawyer
When filing a claim against a drunk driver, the innocent victim usually submits the claim through their own insurance company, which then works with the other driver’s insurance to settle the claim. When there is an issue with the claim, the incident may become a different type of legal matter. If the insurance claim is insufficient to cover the victim’s losses, they might be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
At any point in the process, the victim may decide to talk with a lawyer who may advise them on their rights or agree to represent them in the proceedings. The assistance of a lawyer who is experienced in drunk driving accidents can be invaluable. Additionally, it is important to refrain from signing any settlement documents before speaking to a lawyer. A lawyer will ensure the settlement offer is fair.
Mount Laurel Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Protect the Rights of Collision Victims Injured by Drunk Drivers
If you were seriously hurt in a car accident that was caused by a drunk driver, you might be able to pursue a claim for damages. The Mount Laurel car accident lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman can protect your rights by helping you build a case against the drunk driver. We understand that drunk driving collisions are often severe, and we can fight on your behalf. Call us at 856-751-2345 or complete our online form for a free consultation. We are located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, and we represent car accident victims throughout the surrounding areas.