Hit By A Drunk Driver, What Do I Do Next?
If you or someone you love has been hit by a drunk driver, you may be wondering where to turn to seek justice. DUI accidents are different than other types of car accidents. A DUI accident would be entirely preventable if the at-fault driver did not get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. When a driver exhibits such disregard for the lives and safety of others, that driver needs to be held accountable for their irresponsible, dangerous behavior.
Protecting yourself and your financial future will hinge upon the legal steps that you take after sustaining injuries in an accident caused by a drunk driver. Do not put your right to pursue damages against the at-fault driver at risk by taking the wrong action or by doing nothing at all. The tips listed below will help you know what to do next.
Drunk Driving in Georgia
According to the Georgia Annual Health Measures 2013 report, unintentional injuries, such as those caused in drunk driving accidents, are one of the leading causes of death and premature death in Georgia. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and MADD both state that:
- Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Georgia were responsible for 297, or 25.2 percent, of the state’s 1,179 traffic-related deaths in 2013.
- In turn, drunk driving fatalities cost an estimated $1.4 billion dollars a year in taxpayer subsidies.
- Out of Georgia’s 1,179 fatalities caused by vehicle-related accidents in 2013, 35 percent had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01 or more.
- In Fulton County, 22 people lost their lives in 2013 as a result of a collision involving an alcohol-impaired driver with a BAC of 0.08 or more.
- Fulton County’s alcohol-related car accident fatalities that year occurred at a rate of 2.24 fatalities per 100,000 members of its population.
What Legal Steps Should I Take After Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver?
Once you have received medical attention for your injuries, your next step should be to contact the police department that handled your accident and request a copy of the accident report. A report also should be obtained from the paramedics or other emergency personnel who treated you, your passengers, and any other victims at the scene.
Review the report thoroughly to determine whether it is factually correct. In most drunk driving accident cases, the reports filed by the police and fire departments can be used as evidence in court, so you need to make sure the details are accurate. Accident reports should include the time the accident, weather and road conditions, accident specifics, your condition, the condition of the other driver, and whether the other driver was arrested for a suspected DUI. If there are any discrepancies in the facts pertaining to your accident, politely request to have changes made.
You also should contact a skilled car accident attorney to review the specifics of the accident and explain your legal options. Proving negligence in a car accident caused by a drunk driver is not always a simple task. To put together a strong case, an attorney may need conduct an independent accident investigation, hire an accident reconstruction expert, interview potential eyewitnesses, gather evidence of driver intoxication, and determine the true value of your claim. An experienced attorney will handle the legal aspects of your case, so you can focus on your recovery.
It is important you get all of your accident-related injuries and related ailments treated and fully documented by your physician. From the first time you sought medical attention, in the hospital emergency room or from your own doctor, each appointment and all treatments should be recorded. Your attorney can assist you in reviewing your medical record to make sure it is complete.
One copy of the medical report from your accident should be given to your attorney to use as evidence in your personal injury claim or lawsuit. This documentation will be essential to proving the extent of your injuries and justifying your compensation claim. A second copy should be kept by you in your personal records.
Criminal vs. Civil Case: Why You Need to Take Immediate Action
Even if the drunk driver responsible for causing your accident and injuries is convicted of driving under the influence, the criminal conviction will not provide you any compensation to cover your medical costs, lost wages, repairs, and other accident-related expenses. Georgia law provides people harmed by drunk drivers the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit to seek damages you may be legally owed.
When an individual becomes the victim of a personal injury accident caused by a drunk driver, the injured person only has two years in which to file a claim according to Georgia’s statute of limitations. If the victim succumbs to his or her injuries and there is an ongoing criminal case against the at-fault drunk driver, the two-year statute of limitations will be put on hold and begin again once the criminal case is complete.
Knowing what to do after an accident involving a drunk driver is essential to protecting your rights. It will also be key in your pursuit of fair and just compensation for your injuries or loss.
If you’re looking for a DUI attorney, we’re here for you! Chat us today and we will get right to it with your case!