Being involved in a car accident is a painful and traumatizing experience, especially if you’re the victim of one caused by a drunk driver. You not only have to deal with the pain and trauma but the stress of dealing with practitioners and making appointments. So, what should you do when involved in an accident where the negligent company was drunk and could be refusing a breathalyzer? Besides seeking legal assistance from an auto accident lawyer, here are five steps to follow to ensure your rights are protected and that you get the compensation you deserve. The first three are what you should do immediately after the incident, while the rest apply to the treatment and recovery.
At the Scene:
1. Stop and Stay at the Scene of the Incident
The first thing to keep in mind when involved in a collision is that when your car comes to a halt, you should stay calm and assess the situation instantly. Don’t leave the scene of the incident unless your safety and welfare is at risk.
After assessing the situation and tending to your passengers, contact the authorities as well as emergency medical services. If possible, try and help the other party involved in the incident.
An important point to note is that most insurance providers require you to contact the authorities and sometimes, they will deny claims if you don’t have an official report. So, if you or a passenger happen to have visible injuries, ensure you take photos or videos before being taken to the hospital.
2. Take Photos/Videos or The Scene
Photos or videos, as you may have guessed, are vital in any civil case as they are your best bet in proving the collision’s force as well as the trauma experienced. Photos might establish conditions at the time of the incident including the weather, traffic control devices, signs, obstructions affecting visibility, the layout of the road or intersection, and construction activities that may have been going on.
Additionally, photographs can aid an accident reconstruction expert on testifying about why or how the accident occurred. Not only that, but images of visible injuries are invaluable in claims against at-fault parties. So, if possible, get clear photos of any injuries sustained in the accident before going to the hospital.
3. Identify and Garner Crucial Information Regarding Witnesses
While the authorities can handle this, it is often best if you do it yourself. It’s unwise to assume that the police will identify all witnesses or list all of them on your behalf. Ask witnesses their contacts and ask if the authorities included them in their report.
Months After the Incident:
1. Seek and Keep Copies of Repair Costs, Lost Wages and Medical Bills
If you want to show economic damages, you or your legal representative will have to gather all the billing invoices and related records to document the cost of lost wages, property damage as well as medical care.
Accident victims usually forget that things like medical supplies, orthopedic devices, prescription drugs, and doctor’s appointment transportation costs are viable for compensation. Also, keep a notebook regarding your recovery and ongoing medical care. Include information about appointments, treatments, rehabilitation procedures as well as recovery progress, not forgetting any problems you may have encountered. Noting this information down keeps you from having to try hard to remember it in the future.
2. Attend Legal Hearings & Trial
It is important that you attend all hearings and present evidence during trials and any other proceedings where the negligent party faces prosecution. This entails being present during the traffic court or criminal court of the accused faces serious charges such as negligent homicide.
And there you have it, 5 important things to keep in mind when you are a victim of a drunk driving auto accident. Of course, if the collision left you with severe injuries, it is important to have a legal representative handle the claim or case on your behalf. Ensure you pick a reputable and trustworthy one to improve your chances of getting fair compensation.