The Legal Actions You Should Take After Being Hit in a Dui Accident
A DUI crash refers to an accident involving two or more vehicles where one of the drivers was driving under the influence. This driver could also be legally intoxicated at the time of the accident. In such cases, you have many options you could consider taking, including hiring the best drunk driving lawyers. These legal actions will vary with the extent of the accident. Here are a few aspects you could keep in mind.
What To Do At the Accident Scene
Various steps go into ensuring that everything is seamless at the accident scene. Unfortunately, not everyone will be mentally stable to carry out everything effectively. While this is understandable, it would help to remain calm even after the accident. Calmness and composure will ensure that you take note of every occurrence effortlessly and accurately.
Upon regaining your composure, ensure that you observe the following steps.
Reach Out to the Police
Your first step should be to call the police. This should be regardless of the magnitude of the accident, whether minor or severe. The police will help assess the accident scene, making it easier to establish liability. Yet, you must provide in-depth details about the accident to ensure that the report is comprehensive. It will also ensure that they reach the accident scene quickly.
The chances are that you will want to scold the other driver. However, this would be a wrong move. Instead, it would help to maintain your cool and talk to the other driver respectfully. Move away from the driver if you feel distressed, agitated, anxious, or violent. However, you must ensure that the driver hands over their driver’s license and insurance card. On the other hand, you might need to jot down the car’s details if the driver is not in a state to provide you with them.
Check for Intoxication
You might need to collect physical evidence to prove that the other driver is intoxicated. However, you can only do this if you suspect that this driver is under the influence. Some pieces of physical evidence you might want to check to include empty beer bottles. Feel free to take a few photos of the accident scene.
Ensure that you take a mental note of the behavior and demeanor of the driver. You could also consider checking their breath to confirm their sobriety.
Suppose there are witnesses at the accident scene. In this case, do not shy away from talking to them. They could help corroborate your story. Remember, talking to witnesses might provide you with information you might not have.
Provide Insights to the Police
The police might take time to reach the accident scene. However, you will have to provide comprehensive insights into what happened once they do. Give an in-depth breakdown of the occurrences, including the physical evidence gathered. BE as honest and straightforward as you can. This way, it becomes easier for the police to write a fair and detailed accident report. This report will come in handy when dealing with the insurance company.
Get the Vehicle Towed
Call a local car towing service provider if you are in a position. This service provider will give you tow trucks to help remove your vehicle from the accident scene. The towing truck will take your vehicle to one of the preferred car collision shops.
Get Medical Attention
Once you provide the police with all the details, you will need medical attention. Most likely, the police will provide you with an ambulance to take you to the hospital. There, you will need an in-depth medical evaluation, establishing any injuries sustained. Remember, some injuries, including whiplash and spinal damage, might manifest after several hours. For this reason, do not rush to leave the hospital before a comprehensive medical examination.
You could consider various treatments to help speed up your recovery process. For instance, chiropractors will help align your spinal cord, ensuring that the body returns to its normal state much sooner. You could also opt for massage therapy, physical therapy, and surgery, depending on the extent of the injury.
What to Do After Leaving the Hospital
So many things can happen once you leave the hospital. Yet, you might want to kickstart some things while still there. Here are a few things you will have to do.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Sometimes, the injuries and pain could be so significant that you might not leave the hospital sooner. Yet, you will need legal assistance to help handle the damage sustained. Such will be the time to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. These accident lawyers will often represent you and help protect your rights.
Drunk driving accidents can lead to significant injuries, disability, and even fatalities. An excellent accident attorney will represent you and help establish liability. The idea is to hold the responsible parties liable, allowing you to focus on your recovery process.
An experienced lawyer would be an excellent choice for your case. This attorney comes with intimate knowledge of personal injury and DUI law. They understand how to prove liability and gather evidence. Thanks to such abilities, you’ll not need to have the burden of proving accountability in this case.
Ensure that you choose a lawyer that meets your preferences and is easy to talk to. Excellent communication will ensure that the entire case is smooth. At the same time, your preferred candidate must be willing to charge you fairly after winning your case in the long run. Most injury attorneys charge on a contingency basis, meaning you do not need to part with anything beforehand.
Establish Damages Sustained
Multiple damages can be sustained in a single DUI accident. Yet, you might not cover everything without the help of an attorney. A lawyer will comb through your life and give you an objective view, ensuring that you can understand the extent of the damage this accident has caused. In most cases, the damage could be either financial or healthy. Here is a breakdown of what to expect.
Financial damages are also referred to as economic damages. These are the most direct damages you could sustain, making them less likely to be disputed. Medical expenses, projected health costs, lost wages, property damage, and lost earning capacity are among such damages. Loss of property, including jewelry and car accessories, will count in this section too.
Non-economic damage does not have a direct impact on you. Yet, they could significantly affect your health or earning capacity in the long run. Since they are not explicit, they might be a little challenging to dispute. Non-economic damages include emotional trauma, pain and suffering, stress, PTSD, lifelong disabilities, and diminished quality of life.
You could also suffer punitive damages, also called exemplary damages. Ideally, these are not compensatory damages. Instead, they aim at punishing the liable driver. This way, this driver will avoid such happenings in the future.
Once you establish your damages, your lawyer will draft a comprehensive report and case. This lawyer will use this report as a guiding pillar, ensuring that the settlement or court trial covers any damage you suffered.
Sue the Liable Parties
You can only sue an individual after establishing the damage they have done to you. Sometimes, the liable parties might be more than the driver under the influence. That means you need to find out various facts, including car ownership and even the manufacturer.
If a DUI driver hits you in an accident, you could sue the car owner or employer. This will suffice if the driver is an employee or an agent for the car owner. The employer will include the business or company where the given driver works.
You could also sue the car manufacturer. Vehicle product manufacturers can be held responsible for wrongful death. However, this option works best when there is a fatality. It allows the widow or widower to sue the car manufacturer for compensation for the occurrence. Remember, the car manufacturer is duty-bound to build safe and reliable cars. Such mishaps could indicate less safety or reliability.
You could also track down where the individual was drinking and get witnesses. This move allows you to sue the establishment where the individual got drunk. This bar, club, or restaurant will be held accountable for some of the damage you suffer.
A personal injury attorney will help prove that you were owed a duty of care. This DUI lawyer will also show that you were injured because the driver or sued person did not fulfill their duty of care. Unless you can prove these elements, the odds of winning the case could be dismal.
Notify the Drivers Insurance Company
Always inform the driver’s insurance company of your intention to sue. File a report with them, indicating that the given driver was negligent and under the influence when they hit you in an accident. At the same time, provide them with a report from the police. You’ll get this report from the responding police department. Make sure that you notify the insurance company soon.
You might also need to provide evidence to the insurance company. The attorney often gathers these pieces of evidence. Remember, you might also need to get surveillance footage of the accident scene and the establishment where the other driver got drunk. Usually, these pieces of information will help the insurance company and its lawyers to make more logical decisions.
Consider a Settlement
Once you present the information to the insurance company, you’ll expect two things: a settlement offer or a claim rejection. Suppose the insurance company rejects your claim. In this case, your lawyer might advise more aggressive measures, including a court trial process. The idea is to get your rights protected and your damages compensated.
On the other hand, a settlement offer means discussing what the offer brings to the table. A lawyer will help you comb through the document, ensuring that it covers all damage. They will also ensure that the compensation is fair and your rights respected. However, expect them to negotiate for a better deal when necessary.
Most experts suggest that you be cautious when settling with an insurance company. For instance, be wary of a company that wants to pay you as soon as possible. Instead, ensure that you have explored all the available insurance coverage. It would be best to ascertain that no significant personal assets could be used to settle your claim.
Accepting the settlement offer early denies you the room to negotiate further. It could also prohibit you from making any further claims arising from the accident. This way, you can be sure of some of the damage not getting enough compensation.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Notifying your insurance company will help handle some damage. Usually, this move will suffice if the other driver is underinsured. Underinsurance implies that the compensation might not be enough to cover all your damages. The car insurance plan might not cover every injury you sustained in an accident.
In this case, placing a claim with your insurance provider ensures that you get more money to settle some of your bills and damages from the accident.
However, you’ll need to notify your insurance carrier on time. This way, you’ll get compensation early enough to settle some of your medical expenses.
How About Your Vehicle?
Undoubtedly, insurance carriers could take time to compensate for your damages. However, this period will allow you to recover and heal. The compensation amount comes in handy in addressing various injuries, including auto repair costs.
Ensure that you take your vehicle to the best auto body repair service provider. An excellent professional will help restore the car to its previous state within a relatively short time. Feel free to consider experts recommended or certified by your car manufacturer. A reputable professional is better positioned to offer you premium-quality services and car repairs in the long run.
In conclusion, various legal actions suffice when hit in a DUI accident. Your calmness and composure will often determine the results you get in the long run. Enough evidence will also help in this pursuit. Thankfully, the steps above will guide you in the process.