Car accidents are scary, but when an intoxicated driver is involved in the accident, knowing the right steps to take can be even more intimidating. It’s important to do your research and make sure that you are both safe and protected. These six steps should be your first after getting into an accident with an intoxicated driver.
Keep Calm and Ensure Safety
The most important thing you can do immediately following an automobile accident is to remain calm. Ensure that the passengers in your vehicle and the other vehicle(s) are safe and have not sustained any injuries requiring immediate medical attention. Limit your interactions with the other driver prior to law enforcement’s arrival. In some cases, depending on the location of the accident and as long as the vehicles are drivable, it may be necessary to move the vehicles out of the way of oncoming traffic.
Call the Police
Once you have ensured that everyone involved in the accident is safe, call 9-1-1. Don’t let other participants in the accident dissuade you from involving law enforcement as their involvement is critical in order to file a claim with an insurance company or if the accident results in a civil lawsuit.
Cooperate, Don’t Elaborate
Stick to the facts when discussing the accident with law enforcement officials. While you should never lie or give misleading information, it is also important that you do not admit fault. Provide the officers with accurate details and don’t elaborate on the facts.
If you suspect that the other driver was under the influence while driving, mention your observations to the responding officers and allow them to perform the subsequent tests.
There can be a lot of paperwork involved in car accidents, so it’s important to collect any and all information that you might need while both parties are present. Document the damage to both vehicles and any personal injuries that you sustained with photographs. Collect the contact and insurance information from the other driver, and gather the contact information of any witnesses or passengers. Finally, document proof or indications that the other driver may have been intoxicated. Note if the driver has bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or smells of alcohol. You should also write down any verbal indication that the driver had been drinking, such as mentioning coming from a bar or a party.
Seek Medical Attention
If you suspect that you may have sustained any injuries in relation to the accident, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Symptoms often don’t show up until days or even weeks after the accident. You should also compile documentation of your doctors’ visits, including bills, treatments and medications prescribed. By doing this at the time of treatment rather than waiting until documentation is requested, will quicken the process.
Hire an Attorney
The most reassuring step that you can take after getting into an accident with an intoxicated driver is to make sure you are protected. Hiring an experienced attorney can make a world of difference in ensuring that you receive the most suitable compensation for the damages that you or your vehicle suffered. An attorney can also help shield you from wrongly answering questions asked by insurance companies or the media.
Car accidents and the legal proceedings that accompany them can be troubling, especially when the accident involves someone who has been drinking. In a time like this, the ability to have peace of mind in knowing that someone is on your side is priceless.
If you were involved in a car accident in the South Florida area, call the attorneys at Balkan & Patterson. We will take on the insurance companies and be sure you get the best possible result. Contact us today at 561-750-9191 or visit our website to learn more about how we can help you.