Following a collision with a drunk driver, there are many thoughts that run through a person’s head. Contacting a drunk driving accident lawyer is not necessarily the first. Neither is what to do next, because first and foremost, making sure everyone is okay is all that anyone cares about. If not, getting medical assistance to the scene of the accident is the first priority. Next, make sure the police report is in proper order and then consider contacting a car accident lawyer.
When making sure the police report is accurate, be sure that all of the proper information is gathered. Get as much as possible while still at the scene of the accident. Things to make sure are noted include the name of the driver, the driver’s address and phone number, and the license plate number of the vehicle. Also, as with any automobile accident, be sure to get the insurance information, including the name of the carrier and the policy number.
One other thing to consider doing at the scene of the crime, if possible, is to gather as much evidence as possible. Besides the police report, find out what witnesses might be willing to give their name and phone numbers in order to testify against the drunk driver. Additionally, if a camera phone or a video recording device is on hand, use it. Take as many pictures or as much footage of the scene as possible. Be sure to document the damage to the vehicle and to any injured persons. Be sure to document the state of the other driver as well, if possible.
After the initial accident and treatment, be sure to obtain a copy of the official police report. Take it to an attorney and do so without contacting the other driver’s insurance company. The goal of the insurance company is generally to protect their own interests and, in doing so, they may try to convince a person to take a reduced settlement amount. An attorney will make sure that the full amount deserved is settled upon.
Therefore, when contacting the attorney, be sure to take all of the gathered evidence to the attorney for his or her consideration. Do not forget to include any hospital paperwork from injuries or hospital visits that resulted because of the wreck. Remember, it is a good idea to visit the hospital or a doctor within a few days following the crash, regardless of whether or not any injuries are immediately noticeable. Sometimes things like whiplash or certain internal injuries do not make themselves immediately known.
In many cases, a drunk driving accident lawyer is the only way to ensure that the deserved amount for damages caused as a result of the wreck is recovered. Drunk drivers can, of course, face criminal charges for their chosen actions. They can also be held responsible or liable through the court for all damages caused.
Most likely, a car accident lawyer will take the case to court in the form of a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the victim. If there was a fatality involved, a civil suit may be filed on behalf of a family member of the drunk driver’s victim. The suit aims to hold the drunk driver responsible for making the payments an insurance company would normally cover and perhaps even more.
This includes things like medical bills, lost wages for work missed due to the accident, damages to property, and possibly other economic damages. Some jurisdictions may allow lawyers to seek monetary awards for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or emotional stress. In order to maximize the compensation amount, it is wise to keep these things in mind after being hit by a drunk driver.
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