What Should I Do If I’m Hit By a Drunk Driver?
In the time it takes to watch an hour-long TV show (skipping the ads), a drunk driver has taken a life. In 2017, an average of 30 people died every day due to a crash involving a drunk driver. Alcohol slows reaction times, affects vision, impacts reasoning skills, and changes coordination.
It is illegal to drive in any state with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.08. Depending on the driver’s age, that number may be even lower. Even being having a legal BAC has been found to still impact some people’s driving skills. If you’re in a crash with a drunk driver or a person who you suspect was impaired, these are the things you should do.
Pull Out of Traffic and Dial 911
If it’s possible to drive your car, move it out of traffic. Move it to a shoulder, parking space, or parking lot. As soon as you have, call 911 and answer the dispatcher’s questions.
You may have injuries or be unable to move your car. In either case, stay where you are and call 911. You want the police to come out and interview witnesses. If the other driver is impaired, the police will issue sobriety tests at the scene or at the hospital if the other driver is injured.
Get the Other Driver’s Insurance Information
You need to get the insurance information for the other driver. There is a chance that you won’t be able to do this if you have injuries. The police will collect all of that information and get photos of the scene. You can request the report and photos from them.
Take Photos and Ask Witnesses for Contact Information
Providing you’re not seriously injured, you can spend time collecting some information on your own. It may take police a few minutes to show up. Take photos of the cars in the accident. Get photos of any damaged property. If there were witnesses, ask them for contact information.
Ask to Be Checked Out by an EMT
You may feel okay, but ask to have an EMT assess you. Adrenaline can mask injuries and pain, so it’s always best to have a medical professional look you over. The auto insurance company covers medical bills, so it’s a good idea to be seen at the hospital even if you feel okay.
In addition to having doctor’s notes on what to expect as the shock and adrenaline wears off, you’ll have a record that you did get checked out following the crash. That can help prove that the injuries you suffered were definitely related to the accident and not to something you did later in the day or week.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you’re home, call your insurance company. The representative will hear your story, call witnesses, and investigate the crash. An insurance adjuster will look at the damages to your vehicle and decide if it’s totaled or repairable.
If your vehicle can be repaired but the total cost of the repairs comes to more than the value of your car, it would be declared a total loss. The insurance adjuster would look at the cost to replace your car with one of the same make, model, condition, year, and mileage. You’d likely be offered that value in the settlement offer. The cost of your medical bills and lost income would be added to that amount.
You may find that the settlement offer doesn’t seem fair. They seldom take the emotional factor of a car or crash into consideration. If the drunk driver crashed into a car that your late grandfather helped you restore, replacing it won’t be easy. You could have anxiety issues like PTSD related to the crash that keep you from being able to drive or require you to avoid the intersection where the crash occurred, and that adds 15 minutes to your daily commute.
Call a Lawyer
If you live in an at-fault state, the drunk driver’s insurance coverage covers your medical bills, auto repairs/replacement, and lost income. In a no-fault state, your auto insurance pays regardless of who was at fault. It can be confusing navigating the laws, so it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney who specializes in car accidents.
Take the time you need to heal emotionally and physically. Let the experienced attorneys at Carpenter & Zuckerman look at the accident report and see if you have a case. Carpenter & Zuckerman’s success rate is impressive with more than $1.5 billion in successful settlements and verdicts. One of those success stories involves winning $45 million when a drunk driver killed a mom. Call or use 24/7 chat now for a free consultation.
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