In the chaos immediately following an accident, it’s difficult to determine what to do next. When the accident involves a drunk driver, things can get even more complicated. What if the driver fled? Who will help cover the costs associated with your recovery?
Seek medical help, even if you believe you don’t need it
It’s important to seek medical attention, even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured. Some injuries may not become apparent until days or even weeks after the accident. A traumatic brain injury could be fatal if left untreated. You should be sure to document all injuries associated with the accident.
Don’t take the first settlement offer that comes your way
Your insurance provider or the other driver’s insurance company will probably contact you. They may even have a settlement offer ready to go. It’s important to keep in mind that insurance companies are not operating with your best interests in mind. They exist to make money. Giving money away will not help them achieve that goal. Do not agree to any settlement offer until you’ve had a chance to get legal advice.
Ensure all parties are held accountable
A person who drives intoxicated is negligent. However, other parties may have also played a role in the accident. A bar or a restaurant that overserves a patron may also share in the liability. You should explore all potential avenues of compensation.
Speak with an attorney
A personal injury lawyer can let you know what options you have for moving forward. An attorney will have a good understanding of what your case is worth. A lawyer will also know how to deal with insurance companies. Most lawyers will take cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will owe no legal fees unless you are successful in recovering compensation.
Remember, a criminal case is separate from a civil action
If the police made an arrest at the scene or later caught up with a hit-and-run driver, any criminal charges will be kept separate from any civil suits you may choose to file. This is especially important to keep in mind if the driver is acquitted of criminal charges. A personal injury claim does not have to meet the high burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.