Car accidents are traumatic for anyone. There could be injuries, destruction of property, time away from work, you could lose your means of transportation. But if the driver who hit you was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, that could lead to a whole new set of problems.
Knowing what to do at the scene of an accident is important, but it is even more critical when the person that hit you is impaired. Following the correct steps after the collision could make the ensuing legal process much easier.
Calling 911 is an important after an accident, regardless of injuries, the extent of the damage or if the other driver is drunk. Emergency dispatchers can get police to the scene to identify if any crimes were committed during the accident and to fill out a police report. They can also send medical help to treat anyone injured.
Having a police accident report will be important when dealing with insurance companies or the courts. And if the other driver is indeed under the influence, that too will go on the official record.
If you’re not badly injured in the accident, gather as much information as you can at the scene, but be safe. The scene of an accident can be dangerous.
Use your phone or a camera to take photos of the damage to each car and any surrounding property. Get the other driver’s name, insurance information and license plate number, along with the make and model of the car they were driving. Make note of where the accident took place.
When the police arrive, get each officer’s name and badge number, along with the number of the police report, if available. You can never get too much information.
See a doctor
Even if you don’t think you’re hurt after a car accident, it’s still a good idea to see by a doctor. A car accident causes the release of adrenaline which may mask pain. Signs of ies like whiplash, concussions and damage to soft tissue may not appear immediately after the crash.
Visiting a hospital or clinic also provides another set of documentation that may be needed in future proceedings.
Avoid signing anything, keep records
A lot will be going on after an accident, but you don’t want to give up any future rights you may have. Unless asked to do so by the police, try not to sign any documents presented to you at the scene of the accident or immediately afterwards. This is especially true if the other driver was impaired.
Also, be sure to keep financial records related to the crash, including medical bills, charges for auto repair and any time lost from work.
Seek legal help
After an accident with a drunk driver, their insurance company may try and pressure you to settle quickly to keep the payout low. But often, you might see greater compensation if you work with an attorney and wait until after the driver has gone to court for drunk driving.
It takes time to heal after an accident, not just physically and financially, but emotionally as well. So when seeking legal help, find an attorney you can trust.