In an Accident with a Drunk Driver? Here’s What You Can Do
You can only warn someone of the dangers of drunk driving so many times. You can show them facts and statistics, like how, from 2003-2012, over 10,000 people were killed in accidents involving drunk drivers in California alone. Or that California, like all states, has a zero tolerance law for drunk driving and that a first offense DUI can land them in jail for up to six months.
And yet still, some will drive drunk.
In just 2017, over 120,000 drivers were arrested for driving intoxicated in California. And that doesn’t include the ones who didn’t get caught.
You yourself might never start your car after having a couple of drinks. You could follow every law to a T, take every precaution necessary, and yet still become involved in an accident with a drunk driver.
This would, understandably, be something shocking to go through. Shocking and frustrating, since that would be something that happens beyond your control. It might even leave you feeling helpless and lost. You might not know what to do after such an accident.
Luckily, by following the steps outlined below, you’ll know how to properly handle such an accident.
As well, you should get in contact with an experienced law firm after such an accident. A California accident lawyer will give you the legal guidance you need.
An obvious, yet vital, step to take. Panic can easily set in after a car accident. The sheer trauma of it all is enough to send anyone’s nerves on razor’s edge.
But anxiety and panic will do you no favors after an accident with a drunk driver. They will fog up your brain so you won’t be able to make the decisions you need to make.
So, before anything, after you pull your car to the side of the road, take a moment to collect yourself. Breath in, count to 10. Let the seismic activity in your heart calm itself down.
You’ll need your wits about you to handle the situation properly.
Talking to the Drunk Driver
After the accident, you and the drunk driver will, hopefully, pull your cars to the side of the road. Make sure that you and anyone else in your car are unharmed. Then, get out of your car and engage the drunk driver.
At this stage, you’ll want to summon whatever reservoir of patience you have inside of you. Anyone who’s ever had to deal with someone heavily intoxicated while they themselves are sober will know why.
It’s possible that the other driver might seem of total sound mind. They might ask if you’re okay, their words solid and focused.
Or, it’s also quite obvious that they’re a dozen bottles deep.
Either way, your goal here, above all else, should be to make the drunk driver stay put. In their inebriated state of consciousness, they might do something as crazy as trying to flee the scene of the accident. Not only will this hurt your legal case going forward, but the driver could get in an even worse accident – they could even kill someone.
Interact with the drunk driver. Ask if they’re okay, and keep your eyes open for the telltale signs of drunkenness.
The obvious sight and smell of alcohol will make themselves known. If you don’t detect those, you’ll most certainly make note of the driver’s slurred speech and impaired motor functions. They might trip or stumble if they walk towards you, might drop or fumble with their keys.
To help your legal case, there are a few things you can do. You might record the post-accident scene by taking pictures of any obvious containers of alcohol. You could potentially make a video recording of the drunk driver as an example of the true state of the inebriation.
If you can, you should at the very least get the driver’s name and driver’s license. Ideally, you should get their insurance as well, and make a few mental notes of the general appearance and make of the other driver’s vehicle.
You should have already done so by this point, but if not, make sure you call 911. Getting the police dispatched, as well as getting any necessary medical responders on their way, should be your main goal.
Once the police arrive, calmly explain to them the accident and the surrounding circumstances to it, to the best of your ability. Accurately describing the accident to them will help you in the long run with your accident claim, so showing the police any evidence you might have recorded on your phone or anything you feel is relevant or pertinent to the accident.
If medical responders do arrive, do not refuse their treatment. Not only will they be vital in generating an accurate portrayal of any injuries sustained from the accident, but even if you do not feel pain at the moment, you might still be injured. Some injuries, especially the kind caused by automobile accidents, can have a delayed effect and might rebound you later with pain.
If you’re offered treatment, take it. It will help your case if you wish to pursue an injury claim later on down the road.
Talk to an Attorney Before the Insurance Company
Insurance companies should not be painted as monsters. They have a job to do and a bottom line to make.
However, getting the assistance of an experienced attorney prior to speaking with them is in your absolute best interest.
An insurance claims adjuster will look for holes in your telling of the accident, look for any sort of loophole or ability to shift the blame towards you in some way that they can find.
Your attorney will guide you through this process, and collect any necessary pieces of evidence you might need in your pursuit of a legal case.
The Los Angeles Injury Group will give you just the legal guidance you need after an accident with a drunk driver.
With years of experience in handling cases involving drunk drivers, we will guide you in your California car accident case.