One person dies every 52 minutes in a drunk driving crash in the United States. That is over 10,000 lives yearly. Here in Indiana, 124 people lost their lives in alcohol-impaired accidents in 2020. These are tragic numbers for something entirely preventable. Goodin Abernathy represents victims who experience injuries due to a not-at-fault drunk driving accident. There are ten things that victims can do to protect their interests and rights after the accident.
1. Stay Calm
Accidents are jarring and potentially frightening. Adrenaline and emotions tend to run high after an accident. For those under the influence of alcohol, their emotions and actions become even more unpredictable. It is important for you to stay calm to accurately assess the situation and avoid further conflict with the intoxicated driver. In addition, if the other driver is drunk, they may not make the smartest or safest decisions that could further endanger you.
2. Get Out of Traffic
Assess yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle. If you are able to maneuver your vehicle out of traffic safely, do so. This aids in preventing further accidents. If the vehicle is undrivable, but you can move, remove yourself from the vehicle and get out of traffic to safety. This reduces your risk of further or greater injury. Do not attempt to move anyone seriously injured, as you risk injuring them further.
3. Seek Medical Care
If there are seriously injured people, call emergency services so that they can receive immediate treatment. If you do not need immediate medical care, plan to visit a doctor after you leave the accident scene. Do not wait to seek medical care. You may not realize immediately what your injuries are. Waiting to seek treatment could bar you from recovery later. Seeking medical treatment immediately establishes your injuries and condition, making it easier to prove their relevance to the accident.
4. File a Police Report
After the accident, do not leave the scene. File a police report by speaking with an officer. Cooperate with officers and answer their questions. Provide a factual account of what happened. Do not embellish or pontificate on theories of what you think happened. However, report any behavior or comments you observe the intoxicated person making. Inform the officer of your concerns that the other driver is intoxicated.
5. Stay Silent at the Scene
While at the scene of the accident, try to stay silent. Focus on taking care of yourself, your passengers, and anyone injured. Document the scene and gather witness contact information. Do not admit fault. Do not talk about what happened with anyone other than the responding officer. Be careful what you say, as you do not want to unknowingly admit fault by having your words misconstrued.
6. Take Pictures or Video of the Scene
If you are able to, take pictures and videos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and your injuries. Documenting as much as possible will help when you file your claim for damages later. Try to take clear, non-blurry images. Documenting the scene helps to verify the facts and circumstances of the accident later. This bolsters your claims as the victim and can counter the defendant’s claims of innocence.
7. Speak With a Lawyer
Speaking with a personal injury DUI victim attorney will help you understand your rights. They will explain the applicable law, what you are entitled to, and the process for pursuing a claim. Insurance companies will want you to agree to a settlement right away. Hiring a lawyer will put a barrier between you and the insurance company, removing this pressure. That way, you do not agree to something that isn’t as favorable as it should be. The lawyers at Goodin Abernathy have experience representing victims of DUI accidents and fighting for their rights.
8. Track Your Expenses
In order to prove your claims in court, you need to have adequate evidence. This means carefully tracking all of your expenses. Keep records of every bill your receive and payment you make. Your attorney will use these expenses to determine an appropriate amount to ask for when filing your lawsuit. These are some examples of the types of expenses you should keep records of.
- Emergency room costs
- Ambulance costs
- Medical equipment
- Vehicle repair costs
- Missed Work
9. Create a Future Medical Care Plan
If you have suffered minor injuries, you may not need ongoing treatment. If this is the case, you can track your expenses and seek compensation as you recover. Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents often result in severe injuries due to increased speed or reckless driving behavior. The required treatment could be long-term or permanent for victims with extensive and severe injuries. You will not be able to come back and seek compensation for a second time at a later date. This means you will need to address your potential long-term medical treatment and care in your present lawsuit. Work with your doctors and medical professionals to determine your long-term treatment needs. Your attorney will then use this plan to seek the necessary compensation. These are some common medical expenses that injured victims may seek.
- Ongoing treatment
- Physical therapy
10. Stay Away From Social Media
In today’s world of technology, it can be tempting to document your experience on social media. However, this is one life event your followers do not need to know about. Do not post on social media about your accident in any way, even if your profiles are set to private. Anything you post on social media can be used as evidence in your claim. If you claim to have injured your back, you don’t want to post a picture of you moving heavy furniture. This will undermine your claims and hinder your ability to recover from your injuries.
Seek Legal Representation with Goodin Abernathy For Your Injuries
Experiencing a drunk driving accident can be a potentially life-altering event. Doing these ten things post-accident will ensure you protect your rights. The lawyers at Goodin Abernathy help clients who wish to pursue compensation for their injuries and damages due to a DUI accident. If you are the injured victim of a drunk driver, do not wait to speak with a lawyer about your situation.
Schedule a consultation to speak with one of our personal injury lawyers about your drunk driving accident injuries.