Personal Injury Blog

Involved in a wreck with a drunk driver? Know your rights, and who you should contact to get the compensation you deserve.If you or a loved one have been hit by a drunk driver in the state of Florida, the coming onslaught of ongoing medical treatment, interactions with police officers and insurance companies, and eventual legal pursuits may seem quite overwhelming.

In these cases, however, one of the most important things for you to do is keep emotions level and take key steps to ensure you get full compensation for injuries and property damage sustained in the crash. Almost one-third of all Americans will be in a DUI accident at some point in their lifetime; these are accidents that cause almost 50,000 injuries annually (roughly 49,000 in 2012, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

No matter how it may seem at first, you’re never alone after a drunk driving accident; there are legal resources and professionals available to help you recover, and receive the reward compensation you deserve. Some auto accidents, such as those caused by the reckless intoxication of another driver, are unavoidable for the victim.

In cases where liability is tied to the poor decision-making of others, victims can typically receive full coverage for all damages sustained, should they take proper legal action and have the right support for their claim.

What You Need to Do: At the Site

On the site of your accident, there are several things you should do immediately to both protect yourself and help you receive full compensation for vehicle damage and medical treatment. The first of these steps is a no-brainer: call 911 immediately, and seek medical attention for yourself and others involved in the accident.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions that may have been affected in the crash, make sure to alert emergency responders when they arrive. Also, refrain from physically moving injured persons (unless absolutely necessary as a life-saving measure), since doing so will often further injure victims in the crash.

Do not leave the accident scene for any reason, but instead notify other drivers on the road of the involved vehicles (hazard lights, and if you have them available, cones or flares) and start gathering information. If possible, take photos of the accident scene and any damages or injuries, and collect all of the following information, which can be helpful in any claim you pursue:

  • Phone numbers and detailed contact information of the suspected drunk driver (this includes home, cell and work phone numbers)
  • The other driver’s workplace, and other employer contact information
  • Driver’s license and vehicle identification numbers
  • License plate numbers of all vehicles involved
  • Thorough insurance information of the other driver
  • Vehicle model, year and color

With probable cause, law enforcement officers in the state of Florida can legally require a blood test for alcohol or other substances in the aftermath of an auto accident. On the scene check for possible indicators of intoxication (bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, stumbling, etc.), and inform police officers on the scene.

An official police report and arrest for DUI will essentially guarantee your DUI victim claim on the spot. However, do not engage in unnecessary conversation with the intoxicated driver; just gather information, look for the signs, and walk away.

What You Need to Do: Taking Your Claim to Court

Following your accident, and before you call your insurance company or answer calls from intoxicated driver’s insurance company, you should consider hiring a trained DUI accident attorney to help you manage conversations with these organizations.

One piece of advice any DUI attorney will tell you is to never admit fault, in any way, shape or form. Do not say “I’m sorry,” “I didn’t see you” or any other statement that can potentially establish fault. You are the victim of another driver’s reckless, dangerous behavior; don’t jeopardize your rights by saying the wrong thing. DUI accident attorneys are there to serve you… to help you say the right thing in any official police statement or insurance call, and strengthen your claim in court.

On average, victims in a drunk driving accident can expect to be faced with almost $100,000 in fees for medical treatment and recovery; this is without the costs associated with lost wages, property damage and family care during treatment. However, these additional fees are all things that can be reimbursed in a DUI accident claim.

You shouldn’t have to pay for the dangerous behaviors of others; finding proper representation and taking your claim to court can help you recover in these cases despite the initial struggle.


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