Being involved in an accident with a drunk driver can be anyone’s worst nightmare. The accident consequences can be severe, which can include physical injuries to emotional and financial strain. In such a situation, anyone can feel helpless, but it’s not the right time to give up. Available data indicates that about one-third of car crash fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk drivers, according to the NHTSA. In addition, the yearly cost of alcohol-related car crashes is more than $44 billion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Having the understanding of how to deal with post-accident challenges can get you justice as a rightful compensation. This guide outlines the actions you should consider if you find yourself the victim of a drunk driving incident, including how to pursue a drunk driving accident claim.
Immediate Steps After the Accident
The immediate effect of the accident can be mentally and emotionally draining. The first step is to realize the situation, see if you can move without causing further injury, and check on the people around you. In case someone is injured, call for medical care immediately. The next and most important step is to inform the police about the accident, as a legal record of the incident will be invaluable later. Meanwhile, if you can gather evidence from the scene, then that should be your responsibility. Take photos of the vehicles, the surrounding area, and any visible injuries. Exchange information with the other driver but refrain from discussing the fault or details of the accident.
Filing a Drunk Driving Accident Claim
Once you have managed to care for the situation by providing medical help and collecting evidence, its time to consider your legal options. Filing an accident claim will help you get compensation for potential expenses and losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. You must act quickly, as there are time limits for filing such claims, known as statutes of limitations. In situations like these, it is wise to contact a lawyer specializing in drunk driving accidents to seek advice on how you must act to get any compensation or claims.
Understanding Your Rights
As a victim of a drunk driving accident, you have the right to ask for compensation for the damage incurred legally. It is your right to ask for legal help and not to settle for anything offered by insurance companies for the party at fault. It’s crucial to fully understand these rights before engaging in any discussions about compensation. An experienced lawyer is your best friend in situations where you can’t take a stand for yourself. They know exactly how to handle the situation and get you financial and emotional justice.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies play a significant role in the aftermath of an accident. However, their primary goal is often to settle claims quickly and for as little as possible. When dealing with insurance adjusters, you must be mindful of the information you provide. Avoid making statements that could be misconstrued or admitting fault. It’s often in your best interest to let your attorney handle communications with insurance companies to avoid any missteps that could affect your claim.
The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, a personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and represent your best interests. They gather evidence to support your claim and negotiate with insurance companies to get you the maximum compensation available. If necessary, they can represent you in court. With their expertise, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands.
The Importance of Documenting Everything
Documentation is key in any legal claim. Keep detailed records of all medical treatments, repairs to your vehicle, and any other expenses related to the car accident. Documenting your recovery process, including any pain and suffering, can also be helpful. This information will be crucial in proving the extent of your damages and justifying the compensation you’re requesting.
Seeking Compensation for Damages
There is a vast list of compensation that you are entitled to receive in case you’ve been involved in a drunk driving accident. These include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded as a way to punish the drunk driver for their reckless behavior. You must have a clear understanding of such damages to be able to seek rightful compensation.
Taking the right steps after an accident can make your case stronger. Prioritize your health, understand your rights, deal cautiously with insurance companies, and consider enlisting the help of a personal injury lawyer. You can take notes or record everything right from the accident to the process of recovery. While the entire process can be mentally and financially draining, remember that you are not alone in this journey. This process can be quick and satisfactory by seeking the right professional help who can guide and support you. So, without further questioning yourself, get in touch with a good lawyer today to fight this battle.