Accidents aren’t exactly things that you can stop, as accidents by their very definition don’t happen at an expected point in time. However, the odds of accidents occurring increases when certain elements are in play, and in the case of being in a vehicle, it’s drunk driving.
Unfortunately, even if you do follow the rules and regulations, you may more or less still be part of the “possibility” of being involved in an accident, especially if another driver is drunk. This can result in a whole new level of stress, possibly something you may not have encountered before. Do remember however that aside from personal and potential financial stress, there are legal repercussions to the situation as well. Here are things to remember legally if you’ve been injured by a drunk driver.
First Things First: Safety
Before you even do anything, it may be an important thing to cover that your first priority should be your health. Try to make sure that you’re aware of what’s happened to your surroundings, and remember your immediate plan of action. If no one hasn’t, try calling the authorities right away and an ambulance if you or another person has been injured.
- If you found yourself hit by a drunk driver, try as much as possible to get a handle on the situation first. Regardless of what you’ve experienced, try to make sure if you have no injuries. If you don’t have injuries, still try to make sure you have yourself checked as soon as possible, especially for chances of internal injuries.
- When the authorities arrive, try as much as possible to politely get their names and relevant contact information such as their badge number and contact details. Try to make sure they file a police report for your reference. As for other people in the scene, if you’re able to, politely ask for their names and basic contact information as well. Try not to apologize for anything so you don’t get penalized for anything you may say.
- Try to get documentation of the situation, especially if you’re able to. If you have a camera, take pictures of yourself, especially your injuries. If your car has been damaged, take pictures of your car and the damaged areas, as well as your surroundings.
- If you’ve gotten to the hospital first and had to pay bills for tests and examinations, make sure you get copies of these receipts and correspondences for future reference.
Is Settlement The Only Option?
According to FindLaw, the next option to consider is if settling is your best choice. This is because chances are the driver at fault will have his or her insurance company communicate with you. Odds are, they might pressure you into agreeing on having a settlement earlier than usual because the priority might be getting you out of their hair. While this is an attractive option, do remember that sometimes even the minor of accidents can cause major injuries in the future.
- Remember that if you do agree to this, you will have to sign something called a release of liability. This will disable you from filing any more claims for damages or injuries from the incident, even if they’re severe. This means it’s really important to keep track of all your financial records since the incident, including lost wages and medical costs, until you have fully recovered before even agreeing to entertain these offers for settlement.
- Remember, as a victim, odds are you have more leverage especially if you’re the one seeking settlement when the driver has pleaded guilty to, or is found guilty of, driving under the influence. Chances are, the insurance company won’t prefer to resolve the situation in court, as the jury or the judge may be demand greater compensation.
Do consult your lawyer about the situation, especially when figuring out what the best plan is for you. This is because, depending on the circumstance, pushing for your situation to go to court or for a settlement might be the most beneficial option for your particular situation. Remember, it’s important to always remember that you should more or less have a good grasp on your advantages and disadvantages as a victim, which a lawyer can help you assess. This might be stressful at first, but this is extremely beneficial especially if you need the compensation to help with the bills or other expenses.
The things above are just some of the things you should remember legally if you’ve been injured by a drunk driver. Given the potential differences and special circumstances of case-by-case scenarios, you may need to remember that a lawyer might be able to help you get to the specifics of drunk driving accidents should you need clarifications. You may click here for more information. Remember, drunk driving is highly discouraged due to the fact that lives are truly at risk given the recklessness involved in a drunk driving accident.
Ashley Thompson is a promising young law writer. She hopes to apply her years of study into helping explain legal issues to the public. Ashley loves cooking and often cooks for her family during weekends.