If you have been hit by a drunk driver, you are not alone. Nearly one hundred and twelve million people are put at risk every year due to someone getting behind the wheel when they shouldn’t have been. While some of these people are only hurt a little, the truth is that any car accident with an intoxicated person can change multiple lives. Some people may be unable to return to work due to their injuries. Others are killed, for no reason. However, even those with minor injuries may have to deal with the stress of it all for weeks, months, and even years. Some find themselves having nightmares and struggle to get back to their normal life.
So, if you have been hit by a drunk driver, what should you do? Here are some of your options.
Make sure that the police are on the scene.
You should never leave the scene of a car accident until the police have arrived. They will need to take pictures, talk to both parties and witnesses, and try to piece together what really happened. Make sure that you are able to leave before you do so. You want to make sure that the police have everything that they need before you go home.
The only time that you won’t have to worry about this is if you were seriously injured in the accident. You will need to go to the hospital in the ambulance if it is needed.
While you are waiting on help to arrive (along with the police), make sure that you take detailed pictures of the scene.
Nobody should move anything until the police have arrived. However, if you need to get your vehicles off of the road due to the amount of traffic, it is important that you take pictures right away. You may also want to write down what happened while everything is so clear and sharp in your mind. If you don’t, you may forget some details that should have been important.
Get a lawyer.
Whether you are going to file charges or not, it is important that you hire a lawyer right away. That being said, not just any lawyer will do. You are going to want someone who is experienced in dealing with drunk driving accidents. Otherwise, your lawyer might not be able to listen to your case, explain all of your options, and then help you decide what is best for you and your family. We are an experienced law firm that is ready to help you. We are available day and night because we know that accidents don’t just occur during normal business hours.
If you don’t file a claim within a certain amount of time, called statutes of limitation, you aren’t going to have an eligible claim.
Don’t sign anything without your lawyer’s consent.
After your car accident, you may get papers from insurance companies that are trying to get out of paying you what you deserve. For that reason, you should never sign anything until you talk to your lawyer.
Insurance companies know that when a drunk driver is involved, they aren’t going to have an easy time in court. They know that the drunk driver was at fault, so they may give you a generous settlement. They aren’t going to want to spend months in the courtroom because they know how likely it is that they are going to lose. For this reason, you may be surprised at how high their settlement amount is. If the settlement is decent, you may want to take them up on it. You won’t have to spend money on extra lawyer fees, along with time in the courtroom, hoping that you can do better than that! You will be able to get your money and move on from this.
You may also decide to sue the drunk driver.
When you decide to go after the drunk driver, you are going to want to file a civil case against him or her. This is to help to compensate you for your injuries, both physical and mental. You may be looking at replacing the vehicle that was totaled during the crash. You should ask for help paying any out-of-pocket medical expenses. What if you are out of work for a few weeks? You deserve compensation for that too.
What people often don’t think about is the other damages that occur. You deserve compensation for your mental pain and suffering, including nightmares, trouble getting behind the wheel again, and even dealing with the aftermath of all of your injuries.
You may also want to go after punitive damages. Many people want the drunk driver to pay for his or her mistakes. You want the drunk driver to learn from this so that it doesn’t happen again. Make him or her be an example to others.
Hit By Drunk Driver FAQs
How long do I have to file a claim?
If you were injured in a car accident, you have a specific time limit on when you can file a claim. This is called the statute of limitation, and it depends on your state.
What happens if I don’t file a claim in time?
If you don’t file your claim in time, depending on the statutes of limitation, you won’t have an eligible claim, which means that you won’t be able to get the compensation that you deserve.
Should I take the settlement deal?
Many times, insurance companies will offer a fair settlement deal just to stay out of the courtroom. They know it will cost them, even more, to try to fight it, so most times they offer a decent settlement. If you are happy with it (and just want to get this over with, so you can move on), you may want to consider it.
If you have been hit by a drunk driver, you shouldn’t go through this alone. You need a lawyer that you can trust to help you through this difficult time. Your lawyer will make sure that you don’t sign anything that you shouldn’t. He or she will go through your options so that you make the best decision for your family.
Don’t hesitate to contact us today if you have been involved in an accident with a drunk driver. We will be glad to meet with you to discuss what happened and what your options are. If you decide to fight, we will be here for you, every step of the way!