Posted on November 16, 2017
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime. A 2015 study by the Federal Bureau of Investigation adds that, each day, people drive drunk more than 300,000 times, but only about 2,800 are arrested.
Given these statistics, chances are that you or a loved one may be injured by someone driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. What should you do if involved in an accident and you suspect the driver was impaired? What types of compensation are you entitled to if you’re injured by a drunk driver?
If you are involved in an accident involving alcohol or other illegal substances, take the following action.
Contact the Police. Driving while impaired is a crime and the police must be contacted. Do not let the impaired driver talk you into handling this without getting the authorities involved. The impaired driver is a danger to himself and others and must be taken off the road immediately. Plus, you may need the police report to document the accident for potential legal action.
Gather Information. Do you think you smell alcohol on the other driver’s breath? Did you see the driver throw away bottles or cups before the police arrived? Did the driver put eye drops in his eyes? Take your own photos of the accident. Pay attention to the details. You are involved in a crime scene and every little detail may prove important.
Get Medical Attention. Occasionally, injuries from car and other accidents are not immediately apparent. Do not refuse medical treatment even if you feel you have not been injured. A thorough medical report after an accident is an important piece of documentation if you need to seek compensation.
Don’t Sign Anything. Almost immediately after an accident, you may be contacted by the insurance company of the impaired driver looking to make a quick settlement. While it may be tempting to sign away your rights for immediate compensation, hold off until you have a complete understanding of your injuries, both physical and psychological, and your legal rights for various forms of compensation.
Types of Compensation You May Be Entitled to if Hit by a Drunk Driver
If you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver and feel you’ve suffered property damage or personal injury, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will put together a settlement document requesting the compensation that you are entitled to.
Typical damages in DUI claims include:
Property damage. In addition to damages done to your vehicle, damage to personal property inside the vehicle is eligible for compensation.
Lost Wages. Wages lost due to the accident are eligible for compensation as well as future lost wages if you are permanently injured.
Medical bills. All medical bills including physicians, hospital charges, physical therapy sessions, psychological treatment can be included in your settlement. The cost of future medical treatments may be factored in as well.
Burial Expenses. Cremation, funeral and other burial expenses are recoverable in the event of a wrongful death.
Enjoyment of Life. Physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental anguish can diminish your quality of life and deserve financial consideration.
Punitive damages. In some cases, punitive damages, those damages exceeding simple compensation and awarded to punish the defendant, are an appropriate remedy.
At Popowski, Callas & Shirley, P.A., we understand that victims of drunk drivers often feel violated and sometimes suffer psychological injuries. Our job as personal injury lawyers is more than getting you the best compensation possible for your injuries. We want to empower you to move forward.
For more information, call us at 803-799-2100 or send us an e-mail to arrange a free consultation. Drunk driver victims pay no fees until after we recover money for their claim.