Within a single year, distracted driving led to 3,142 fatalities and caused an estimated 424,000 injuries. These crashes accounted for 15% of all police-reported crashes in America.
If you’re ever hit by an impaired driver, it’s important to gather evidence to submit a personal injury claim. Otherwise, you could struggle to fight for compensation.
Here are the steps you need to follow if you’re ever hit by a drunk driver. Read on to learn more!
If you’re ever hit by someone driving under the influence, try to remain calm. You can’t anticipate how they’ll react if they become violent, agitated, or distressed.
Avoid saying anything out of anger or frustration. Instead, take a deep breath and try to remind yourself of these steps to follow when you’re hit by a drunk driver.
Knowing how to approach the situation can help you avoid making any costly (or potentially dangerous) mistakes.
Once you find your bearings, move your vehicle to a safe place nearby. Moving your car will help you avoid another accident. Make sure you’re beyond the flow of incoming traffic.
Try to encourage the other driver to move to the same location (if they appear calm enough).
Regardless of how minor the damages or your injuries seem, call emergency services right away. Police officers and medical responders can fully assess the situation. They’ll ensure you and the other party act accordingly.
When the police arrive, mention that you believe the other driver was driving under the influence. Again, don’t speak out of anger or assign blame.
You do need to give a detailed statement to the officers who arrive at the scene of the crash. Tell them what happened right before the accident. Tell them why you believe the other party was driving impaired.
For example, perhaps the other driver was driving erratically or swerved between lanes before the crash. Maybe you noticed a bottle in their hands before or after the accident.
The police officer who arrives at the scene will determine if the driver is drunk. They can administer DUI tests as needed. For example, they might complete a field sobriety test, administer a breathalyzer test, or administer a blood alcohol test.
The officer’s observations and the driver’s BAC test results will become evidence you can use against the driver in court.
They may arrest the driver if they were driving under the influence.
If you were hit by a drunk driver and injured, make sure to receive medical treatment at the scene of the crash.
While you wait for the police to arrive at the scene of the crash, try to exchange information with the other driver. Document their:
- Phone number
- Insurance information
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Car make, model, and year
You might want to wait for the police to arrive to request this information if the driver is agitated.
Take a photo of the driver’s insurance card and ID, too.
Refrain from speaking with the other driver’s insurance provider. Allow your auto accident attorney to speak to them on your behalf. Otherwise, the other party’s insurer might try to use something you say against you in the claim.
Document the Scene
Before leaving the scene of the accident, gather information. The evidence you gather can help support your claim.
Take pictures of the scene, including photos of all vehicles involved in the accident. Get photos of traffic signals, road conditions, street signs, and lighting conditions.
Don’t interfere with the police investigation while gathering this evidence.
If anyone witnessed the crash, ask if they’re comfortable providing their name and contact information. Your lawyer can contact them later.
Ask the police for a copy of their report before they leave the scene. Request their name and badge number, too. Your lawyer might contact them later for a copy of the police report if it’s incomplete.
Write down your recollection of what happened before you forget any details. Write down:
- Details about the driver’s demeanor
- Any evidence of intoxication you noticed
- Anything the driver said or did
Note any surveillance cameras around the scene of the crash site, too. Your lawyer can gather the footage later when building your case.
Visit a Doctor
If an ambulance doesn’t take you to a local hospital for medical treatment, visit a doctor after the police clear you to leave. A doctor’s full assessment can strengthen your claim.
Keep a record of all medical treatments, medications, specialists, appointments, and bills related to your case. Your lawyer will use this information to prove your losses.
Keep up with your appointments, too. A follow-up appointment will allow the doctor to assess your healing process. They might note that you require long-term care.
File a Claim
Don’t forget to call your insurance company to file a claim. Your insurance agent will walk you through the process to ensure you don’t skip any necessary steps.
Keep a record of all documents relevant to your auto accident claim.
Call a Lawyer
Hire a lawyer with experience handling drunk driving accidents. Their experience and expertise can help you avoid making mistakes as you file your claim. They’ll walk you through the strict legal requirements and procedures involved, too.
You can use the evidence involved in your case for a civil lawsuit. If the driver was convicted of a DUI, you can prove their negligence caused the accident.
With help from your lawyer, you can fight for economic damages. You can learn more about lawsuits after drunk driving accidents here.
Follow These Steps If You’re Hit by an Impaired Driver
Prioritize your health and best interests the next time you’re hit by an impaired driver. Following these essential steps will ensure you gather the evidence you need. Don’t forget to hire an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
With their help, you can file a civil lawsuit to fight for damages.
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