Drunk driving is still a leading cause of death in vehicle crashes. Per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, every 48 minutes a person dies as a result of a crash involving a drunk driver. If you’re involved in a crash with a drunk driver, call the police and seek medical care. You might feel fine, but adrenaline can mask the pain and discomfort for a few hours.
In California, a DUI is charged if a urine, blood, or breathalyzer test finds a BAC of 0.08% or higher and a person is 21 or older. For underage drivers, the BAC needs to be 0.01% or higher. Urine tests are typically only used if drugs are suspected.
Calling police is your first goal. Getting checked out at the hospital is second. What do you do after that? Don’t take the amount of damages the other driver’s insurance offers. They will offer the lowest amount they feel is acceptable. You are not obligated to agree. You have every right to fight for more. Here’s a quick guide into the steps you need to take after a crash with a drunk driver.
Track Your Expenses and Lost Wages
From the moment a drunk driver crashed into you, keep track of every expense and hour you have to take off from work or other responsibilities. If you were in the hospital for four days, you’ve lost four days of work to start. Say you work in manufacturing and the doctor’s orders are no heavy lifting for a month, you’re going to lose another month of income there. Get letters and notes from the doctor, your employer, and other specialists explaining the circumstances and the amount you’re losing in pay.
Keep track of all of your medical bills. You want the bills related to any time in the hospital, prescriptions from a pharmacy, physical therapy sessions, and emotional/psychological counseling if you are dealing with PTSD following the auto accident.
Record Every Detail of the Accident
If possible, get photos at the accident scene or ask someone to do it for you. If you have a dash cam in your car, it will help immensely. You will have to fill out an accident report with the police. You’ll also put in a claim with the drunk driver’s insurance company. Ask for as many of their photos as you can get for your records.
There are other ways to get photos. Post messages on town bulletin boards or website forums asking if anyone was there when the crash happened. If they have dash cam footage, it can help build your case. Ask nearby businesses if they have outside security cameras that caught the crash.
Don’t Expect Courts to Be on Your Side
As one Missouri family discovered, sometimes the laws don’t offer suitable punishments. When their son was killed by a drunk driver, they expected the driver to get jail time. Instead, the 19-year-old was out drinking again soon after and bragging to others that her attorney would make sure she never got jail for the murder. Despite all of the evidence, she was sentenced to five years of probation.
While a personal injury lawsuit won’t put a driver in jail for the drunk driving crash, it helps to cover all of the money you’ll spend healing and putting your life back in order. You’ll need a new car or rental while your car is repaired. You’ll need time to heal physically and mentally. You’ll need the money to pay for all of the medical bills resulting from the care you receive.
Call an Attorney Who Specializes in Drunk Driving Personal Injury Cases
The very moment you can call, whether it’s from the hospital or when you’re home, call an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases. You specifically want an attorney who has tried auto accident cases involving drunk drivers. That lawyer will ensure you’re treated fairly and get financial restitution to cover damages to your car, your physical and emotional well-being, and compensation for lost wages.
KJT Law Group offers free consultations to clients who have been injured by drunk drivers. The attorneys with the firm have helped many victims get compensation for injuries caused by other drivers. In one case, the driver needed knee surgery following a crash and received a settlement of $150,000. Don’t agree to the money offered by the other driver’s insurance company, talk to KJT Law Group first.