Being involved in any car accident can be a scary and traumatic experience. This is especially true if you’re injured in a DUI accident. We all know that driving while under the influence of a controlled substance is against the law. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop thousands of people each year from getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. If you have recently been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, keep reading to learn about the steps that need to be taken to ensure that you can get the help you deserve.
What to do if You are Involved in a DUI Accident
The first thing you should do when you are involved in an accident is to call the police and assess any damage. If you or anyone else is injured, you should also call an ambulance.
In many states, the law requires you to report any accident to the police that involves damage to property, personal injury, or death. When the police get to the scene of the accident, they will assess the situation, and if they suspect that the other driver has been drinking, they will perform the necessary test to test whether or not the driver is too impaired to drive.
The next thing that you need to do is to make sure that you exchange information, such as your name and insurance provider, with the other driver. This information will be listed on the police report. You can usually pick up a copy of the police report one to three days after the accident.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
It is important to call your insurance company and notify them of the wreck as soon as possible. Many people are under the impression that calling their insurance company is not necessary if they were not at fault; however, this is simply not true. Even if you are not at fault, your insurance company can still help you through this difficult time.
Your insurance provider should be the only provider that you contact. Do not try to contact the other driver’s insurance provider. If the other driver’s insurance agent contacts you directly, try to politely end the conversation with them quickly and without giving any details about the accident. No matter how nice they may seem on the phone, the other driver’s insurance company will not have your best interest in mind. The main goal of this company is to pay out as little as possible. There is a good chance that the other driver’s insurance company is calling you to try to trick you into providing evidence that the accident was your fault, or that your injuries are not as serious as you claim.
If the other driver’s insurance company wants to talk to you directly, make sure to give them as little information as possible. The only information that should be given to this company is the name and number of your insurance agent or your attorney.
What to do if the Insurance Company Doesn’t Pay You a Fair Settlement
Being injured in any car accident can be extremely expensive. Not only do you have to pay for repairs to your vehicle, but if you sustain any injuries, doctor’s bills can continue to pile up for months or even years. If you were involved in a car accident that was not your fault, you should not be responsible for any of the out-of-pocket expenses.
If the other driver’s insurance company has not agreed to give you enough money to cover the expenses that you have incurred because of the accident, then you may want to talk to a car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on the proper steps to take next and may decide that it is best to take the other driver to court to get the rest of the compensation that you deserve.
Lawsuits Involving DUI Accidents
If you decide to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver that caused your accident, you may be able to obtain a reasonable amount of compensation for medical bills and other expenses. However, there may be a few challenges that you encounter if you file a civil lawsuit against a drunk driver.
Civil lawsuits and criminal lawsuits are completely different. If the driver is charged with a DUI, he or she will have to go before a judge for the criminal proceedings. In a civil suit, however, instead of the defendant (the drunk driver) facing any potential jail time, the court could order them to pay for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and any other bills that you may have that are in direct relation to the DUI accident.
The No-Fault States vs the Negligence States
Many states in the country have no-fault laws. When a state has these laws, it can make it a little more difficult to sue a drunk driver in civil court. In no-fault states, the victim usually has to have a substantial amount of property damage or has suffered major injuries as a result of the accident in order for the drunk driver to be held liable.
In states that have pure negligence laws, however, a civil suit is not based on how much damage was obtained from the car accident. As long as you are able to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident, you can file a civil lawsuit against that driver.
It can sometimes be confusing trying to figure out what to do after you are involved in a DUI accident. If you need help navigating through this difficult time, you should contact a personal injury lawyer that is experienced with handling DUI accidents.