Hit by a Drunk Driver: What To Do Next
One of the most irresponsible decisions a driver can make is getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Despite the known dangers, drunk driving remains a problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 10,142 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2019, or approximately one person every 52 minutes.
The actions taken after a drunk driving accident are vital to preserving evidence in the event that criminal charges or a civil claim is filed. Here, drunk driving accident attorney Lynn C. Harris offers drivers in Salt Lake City, UT, Provo, UT, and surrounding areas tips on how to protect their legal rights after being hit by a drunk driver.
Call the Police
Regardless of how minor a car accident may seem, if there are suspicions of drunk driving the accident should be reported to the police. The police will send an officer to respond to the scene and conduct an investigation.
When the officer arrives drivers should report exactly what happened leading up to the accident. They should report any suspicion of drunk driving, as well as any evidence that led to this suspicion, i.e., does the driver smell of alcohol, did you see alcohol containers in their vehicle, were they acting erratically or slurring their speech, etc. Officers or medical personnel on the scene will be able to conduct DUI tests to determine if the driver is under the influence of alcohol.
Attempt to Exchange Information with the Other Driver
While waiting for police to report to the scene of a car accident, drivers should attempt to exchange information with other involved drivers. It is important to gather driver’s license information, insurance information, contact information, and the vehicle’s license plate number. If the other driver is drunk, they may be unable to communicate effectively, or they may simply act belligerent and refuse to cooperate. If this is the case, it is safest for drivers to avoid contact and gather as much information as possible about the vehicle involved in the accident (make, model, color, license plate number, etc.).
Gather Information from Accident Witnesses
Witnesses can provide valuable information when it comes to recreating the details of a car accident. If there are witnesses in the area, drivers should collect their contact information so that they can be interviewed by the police or insurance companies.
Seek Medical Attention
If there are obvious injuries following a drunk driving accident drivers will probably be taken to a hospital via ambulance. If immediate care is not needed drivers should schedule an appointment with their regular physician as soon as possible. Accident injuries are not always immediately apparent, but if any care or treatment is needed it is good to have an official record showing the consequences of the car crash.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Once medical needs have been met, drivers should report the car accident to their insurance company. Drivers should provide any information collected from other involved drivers or witnesses, as well as the name of the responding officer or police department, so that the insurance company can start an accident claim and investigation.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney
Utah is a no-fault insurance state, but that doesn’t mean that injury victims are not due additional compensation from liable parties. Attorney Lynn C. Harris investigates the details of a drunk driving accident to determine if his Salt Lake City clients may be able to file a personal injury claim for accident damages.
If you have been hit by a drunk driver, attorney Lynn C. Harris can help you explore your right to financial compensation. To discuss the details of your crash and learn about your best course of legal action, send us a message online, or call (801) 375-9801 and schedule a personal consultation.