Although the penalties for drunk driving are stiff, motorists still get behind the wheel while impaired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately 28 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes every day. Being injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver can have devastating consequences as well. Top car accident lawyers share some tips that can help protect your rights and hold responsible parties accountable.
Stay Calm and Call 911
After a crash, it is normal to feel shaken, overwhelmed, and even angry. Keeping a cool head and noticing what’s happening around you can help you remember important details that may be relevant to a car accident claim. Call 911 or local law enforcement. If you suspect that the other driver is impaired, make sure to tell officers when they arrive on the scene. If possible, get a copy of the police report at the scene – it provides vital documentation of the accident and what officers may have observed.
Seek Medical Attention
Calling 911 can also help to ensure you get the medical attention you need if you have been injured. Going to the emergency room or seeing your doctor as soon as you can is crucial not only to protect your health and well-being, but also to provide valuable evidence of your injuries. Make sure to save all medical bills and receipts for any accident-related expenses.
Gather Contact Information
Obtain insurance and contact information from any motorists involved in the crash, including their full name, phone number, email, license plate, and driver’s license info. If there are any witnesses, write down their contact information and statements as well.
Take Photos and Video
If you are able, take photos of the scene, damage to vehicles your injuries, and anything else you think may be important. A video can also provide useful visual documentation of the scene. If you are seriously injured or unable to take photos, ask a passenger or bystander to take some pictures.
Document Everything You Remember
Documenting what happened while it is fresh in your mind can help back-up the facts of your claim later. Whether you write it on a piece of paper or use the voice recorder on your smartphone, try to get the details down as soon as possible.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Even if you believe your injuries are not that serious, speak with a personal injury attorney after a drunk driving accident. Symptoms of some injuries may not appear right away, and the last thing you want is to be stuck with piles of medical bills down the road. If you have sustained a serious injury that keeps you from working and requires extensive medical treatment, a lawyer can evaluate your case and help you pursue the maximum compensation you need to protect your health and finances. An attorney will know how to gather the right evidence and put it all together to build a solid case. If a restaurant, bar, or individual served alcohol to a visibly-intoxicated person, they may be liable for damages as well.