Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, especially if the other party is under the influence of alcohol. Knowing the right steps immediately after the incident can ensure your safety and protect your legal rights. Here are six essential steps to consider in this unfortunate situation.

1. Check for Injuries and Ensure Safety

The first and most crucial step is to assess whether you or anyone involved in the car accident is injured. Your health and safety come first. If you or anyone else is hurt, call 911 immediately. Even if the injuries seem minor, getting medical attention is essential as symptoms might appear or worsen later.

If it’s safe, move to a secure location away from traffic to prevent further accidents. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers.

2. Call the Police

Regardless of the severity of the accident, report the incident to the police, especially if you suspect the other driver is under the influence. A formal police report is essential for insurance claims and legal proceedings. It’s an official document detailing the event and the individuals involved.

When the police arrive, provide an honest and detailed account of the accident. Be sure to mention your suspicion of an intoxicated driver. If they also suspect drunk driving, the officers will conduct a field sobriety test or use a breathalyzer.

3. Document the Scene

While waiting for the police to arrive, document the accident scene if possible. Use your smartphone to take pictures and videos of the vehicles, any visible damages, the surrounding area, and any relevant road signs or markers. This visual evidence can be beneficial during insurance claims or legal disputes.

Additionally, if there are any witnesses, ask for their contact information. Witness statements can provide an objective perspective on the accident, which can be invaluable.

4. Seek Medical Attention

Seeking medical attention after being hit by a drunk driver is crucial, not only for immediate health concerns but also for personal injury cases. In the aftermath of drunk driving crashes, documentation of injuries is key.

A medical professional can assess the impact caused by the impaired driver and provide vital records that support legal claims. These records become indispensable when seeking compensation, especially for future medical expenses. Medical evaluations post-incident ensure that victims receive the necessary care while also solidifying the foundation of their legal case against the drunk driver. 

5. Contact Your Insurance Company

When a drunk driver hits you, the implications can range from property damage and physical injuries to, in severe cases, long-term disability or even fatalities. The reasons for promptly notifying your insurance company can impact your ability to recover damages and ensure your rights are protected.

Dealing with the drunk driver’s insurance company can be complicated and adversarial. Your insurance company can act as an intermediary, negotiating to ensure that the insurance of the at-fault driver provides the compensation you are entitled to. This is crucial because the drunk driver’s insurance company will have its interests in mind, often aiming to minimize payout. Your insurer can help level the playing field.

Your insurance company can also provide essential legal and procedural guidance following a DUI accident. Navigating the complexities of insurance claims, understanding your policy’s coverage, and knowing your rights can be overwhelming. Insurance professionals can advise on how to proceed, what documentation is necessary, and how to protect yourself from potential legal issues arising from the accident.

6. Consult a Car Accident Lawyer

Dealing with the aftermath of a traffic collision due to intoxicated drivers can be complex and overwhelming. It’s advisable to consult with an auto accident attorney who specializes in drunk driving cases. They can guide you through the legal process, help you understand your rights, and work on the personal injury lawsuit to ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages and injuries.

A lawyer can also handle negotiations with insurance companies, who often try to minimize the amount they pay out for DUI accident claims. With professional legal representation, you’re better positioned to receive the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

What Compensation Can an Injured Person Receive After a DUI Accident?

After a drunk driving accident, an injured person may be entitled to various types of damages, categorized generally into compensatory and, in some cases, punitive damages. Here’s a breakdown:

1. Compensatory Damages

These are intended to compensate the injured party for the losses incurred due to the accident. Compensatory damages can be further divided into economic and non-economic damages.

  • Economic Damages: These are tangible losses that can be easily quantified in monetary terms. They include: 
    • Medical bills: These include the costs for emergency treatment, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical treatments.
    • Lost wages: Compensation for the income lost while recovering from the injuries.
    • Loss of earning capacity: If the injuries affect the victim’s ability to earn in the future, they may be compensated for this loss.
    • Property damage: This is reimbursement for repairing or replacing any property damaged in the accident, such as a vehicle.
  • Non-Economic Damages: These are intangible losses that are not easily quantifiable. They include:
    • Pain and suffering: Compensation for physical pain and emotional distress suffered as a result of the accident.
    • Loss of enjoyment of life: If the injuries prevent the victim from enjoying daily activities or hobbies they once enjoyed.
    • Emotional distress: Compensation for anxiety, depression, and other psychological effects stemming from the accident.
    • Loss of consortium: These are damages awarded to the spouse or family of the injured person for the loss of companionship or support.

2. Punitive Damages

Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim but rather to punish the offender and deter similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages are less commonly awarded and are applicable in cases where the defendant’s actions are found to be especially harmful, reckless, or malicious. Drunk driving could fall into this category, depending on the jurisdiction and the case’s circumstances.

Contact a Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney

If you are a victim of an alcohol-related crash, prioritize your safety and legal rights. The aftermath of such incidents can be overwhelming, but taking appropriate steps can help protect your well-being and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries and damages.

It’s essential to seek professional guidance from Temple Injury Law. We can provide you with the necessary support for your case to make informed decisions and pursue the justice you deserve. Schedule a consultation with us today.