Being hit by another driver is a terrifying moment, and if alcohol was involved, it can be even more difficult to know how you should proceed. You’ll need to file an insurance claim just like you would in any other accident, but you should also consider working with an attorney. A specialist who is familiar with the laws in your state can help you navigate your insurance policy, seek a settlement from the other party’s insurance, and, if needed, take your case to court. Follow these steps if you’re in an accident involving a drunk driver.
Call the Police
You’re required to call the police and report an accident in certain situations, such as if a personal injury occurs or there is significant property damage. Regardless of the requirements in your state, however, having police on the scene can help you get insurance information and communicate with the other driver and witnesses. If alcohol is involved, the police report and the officer’s testimony will be vital evidence when you file a claim.
Take Notes and File an Insurance Claim
Once you’ve confirmed that everyone is safe and you’ve called the police, gather information about the accident. This should include taking photos of the damage and collecting contact information from the other driver and any available witnesses. You should also note the road conditions, the stop lights and other road signs you followed, and the other driver’s condition.
You can then report the accident to your insurance company. Your insurer will provide compensation for repairs to your vehicle, medical expenses, and other related costs. Your insurance company will charge the at-fault driver’s insurer to cover these expenses.
Be Cautious When Accepting an Injury Settlement From the Drunk Driver’s Insurance Company
If you’re the victim of a traffic accident, the other party’s insurance company will likely reach out to you with an early settlement offer. This offer should always be approached with caution. The insurance company may not provide the compensation you’re owed, especially if the offer comes quickly after the accident and before you’re certain about the extent of the damage. You should be even more cautious in cases involving a drunk driver.
Cases where a driver is convicted of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated rarely go to trial because the defendant’s insurance company usually wants to settle out of court. This is good for both parties involved, but it’s important that you be patient and review the settlement offer carefully. An attorney can go over the agreement to confirm that you only sign a release of liability if the settlement offer covers all of the short- and long-term damages associated with the accident.
One of the most important things you can do after a drunk driver hits you is to consult with a lawyer in your area. Regardless of the circumstances, an attorney can look at the details of your case and advise you about your legal options. Take advantage of a free consultation following a collision with a drunk driver to ensure you receive the compensation you’re owed for your injuries.