If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, the first thing to do is make sure that everyone involved in the accident is okay.
Once you’re physically able to, it’s important to seek legal representation because the longer you wait, the less chance you have of receiving proper compensation for your injuries and losses.
You’re probably not researching this from the scene of your accident, but we’re going to step you through what you need to as if you are. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a drunk driver then here are the steps you should take.
1. Notify the Authorities & Your Insurance Company
Immediately following the accident, make sure you and your passengers are okay and get to a safe place FIRST.
Next, notify the police and emergency services. Even if the person who hit you has driven off and you’re okay, you need the police to file and document the accident. Without documentation, you won’t be able to file an insurance claim and without that, you’re likely to never receive any kind of due compensation.
Also, if the individual who hit you has fled the scene, notifying the police immediately can prevent another accident from occurring. Drunk drivers are more likely to flee the scene of an accident because they’re intoxicated. Poor judgement and trying to avoid the consequences of driving drunk are both factors here.
Drunk drivers might choose to leave the scene on foot instead of driving away – how they choose to leave doesn’t matter. Call the police.
You’ll also need to notify your insurance company. Some people choose to do this at the scene of the accident and others wait until they get home or to a more calm location. When you decide to call might depend on the severity of your accident, but you need to call.
Your Cooperation is Key
Cooperate with the authorities and your insurance company. Try to remember every detail of what happened. If the driver is no longer on the scene, try to remember key details like a partial license plate, a make, and model of the vehicle, what the driver was wearing, what the driver looked like, where the damage on his or her vehicle might be, etc.
The emergency crew services will ask you on the scene if you’re injured. Always get a proper checkup on the scene because right after an accident, you might not know if you’re injured. You probably have adrenaline pumping through your veins and you could be seriously injured without even knowing it.
Cooperating also means exchanging information with other drivers involved in the incident. Exchange insurance information, get their full name, their phone number and any other details that would help you when the authorities arrive.
You may take your own photographs of the scene and try to detail if there were any witnesses that could also testify to the events of the crash.
Locate A Personal Injury Attorney
After you’ve been cleared and are okay to return home, you need to call a personal injury attorney near you.
Simply ask for a free consultation to get legal advice, because you’re under no obligation to commit to an attorney based on a phone call asking for guidance. Get legal advice based on your case and proceed from there.
A Few Things To Know About Auto Insurance
No-Fault Insurance Law
At the time of writing this, it’s estimated that a dozen states participate in what’s known as the no-fault law. This is an insurance practice that covers all of your injuries and medical bills. Insurance companies are legally obligated in these states to covering all of your injury claims. However, some states will have limits on the amount of compensation you can claim and what injuries they will cover. Your insurance agent should be able to go through all of these claims or limitations in detail.
A few of the states that participate in the no-fault law are as follows: New York, Pennsylvania & Florida
Make sure to ask your insurance agent about lost compensation if you’re going to be out of work due to personal injuries. In no-fault insurance states, it’s the obligation of insurance companies to pay a portion of your lost wages and on average, people usually end up seeing 75% of their lost pay. Some companies offer lost wages as a result of your injury but this varies based on company policy and they’re under no obligation to do so. It’s also important to have health insurance coverage because, without that, some insurance companies will drastically limit what you’re eligible for earning in terms of compensation overall.
State laws vary, so talk to your accident attorney about the laws in your state.
Multiple Injured Persons
If there are multiple people that were injured on the scene, you want to follow the same procedure as you would for one injured individual but this is where the laws get a bit tricky. Insurance companies at this point will limit the number of claims each person can make and that limitation will become much lower for each person. There’s no sure way to tell how much coverage each person will get as it goes from case to case.
Have You Been Involved In An Accident With An Impaired Driver?
First and foremost, if you’ve been in an accident, call the police and EMS. You need to be checked out and you need to document everything.
Don’t ever leave the scene and if the driver leaves the scene, get as many descriptive details as you possibly can about the driver so you can help the police find them.
Contact your insurance company when you’re able to. You’ll need to provide them with evidence and details of the accident, so you can find out how much you’re eligible for in coverage.
You’ll also want to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss the legality of your situation and how to proceed from there. They’ll take care of starting the court proceeding or civil suit if there is one.