A drunk driving accident has the potential to change lives forever, and when one occurs, it is important that the victim secure their legal rights. Getting behind the wheel while under the influence is extremely reckless, but even with increased focus on it, law enforcement still has trouble stopping it. According to the CDC, the average inebriated motorist will get away with driving under the influence 80 times before they are arrested. In 2012 alone, about 29 million motorists admitted to the crime, and someone dies every hour due to an inebriated motorist. Anyway you look at it, the U.S. has a serious problem in this area, so everyone should know what to do if they are involved in this type of crash.

SO, WHAT SHOULD A VICTIM DO IF THEY ARE INVOLVED IN A DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT?

Impaired motorists violate the law as soon as they take to the road, so it is important to get the police involved in the immediate aftermath of a crash. Should the police corroborate your side of the events, it will be nearly impossible for the defendant to avoid liability for any damages they cause. However, the more information the victim has access to, the better their chances of securing a higher settlement. If possible, take photos of the damage done to the car, speak to any witnesses, and keep a complete record of all medical expenses. Seek medical attention as soon as possible to prove that any injuries were due to the crash and not something else.

Keep in mind that when a drunk driving accident occurs, the defendant’s insurance company will likely contact the victim in an attempt to pay them off right away. The defendant’s insurance company will do anything possible to minimize costs, including aggressively coercing a victim into signing an agreement to take much less than they would receive in a settlement. It is important to speak with an attorney before agreeing to anything so as to avoid an unfair settlement.

Sometimes, there may be additional parties involved in a claim. For example, dram shop laws in most states make it illegal to serve someone who is obviously intoxicated. Unfortunately, many bars and clubs ignore this law due to inattention or a desire to make more money, so they allow extremely inebriated people to continue to drink and leave in their vehicle. If the impaired motorist was served to a dangerous point and allowed to transport themselves home, the business might be responsible for damages. Also, if someone lends their vehicle to an impaired person, they may also be responsible for any damages. A single drunk driving accident, therefore, may incorporate several defendants into a claim. This can be a smart option if the impaired motorist lacks insurance, as it will be difficult for a victim to recover compensation from someone without it.

A drunk driving accident can quickly become a complex affair, especially if long-term injuries are present. That’s why victims are encouraged to seek out professional legal assistance from an attorney who has experience in the area.