In 2012, over 10,000 people were killed due to drunk drivers in the U.S, and an estimated 345,000 individuals sustained injuries in accidents that were caused by people driving while intoxicated according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In other words, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash in the U.S. every 51 minutes, and someone is injured every 90 seconds because of this entirely preventable crime.
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibly reports that because of increased national efforts to fight drunk driving, fatalities caused by drunk driving accidents have declined 35 percent since 1991. Nonetheless, those who are involved in drunk driving accidents should take the following five steps to protect themselves and seek compensation they deserve for their injuries and damages.
1. Call 911
First, call the local police department immediately to report the drunk driver so that they can investigate the accident and arrest the drunk driver. If you have been injured, seek medical treatment as soon as possible following the accident. Should you decide to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver, this evidence can help you to solidify your case.
2. Obtain Contact Information
If you notice any witnesses or bystanders, write down their names, phone numbers, addresses and other pertinent information that can help you to locate them at a later date; witnesses can be an invaluable asset in court. For instance, you may wish to draw a quick map to illustrate where these individuals were located at the time at which the drunk driving accident occurred.
3. Document the Incident
Always take photographs and video at the scene of the accident. The more the better as these images can help you if you decide to pursue a claim.
4. Inform Your Insurance Provider
The last two steps may be reversed, depending on the circumstances surrounding the drunk driving accident. After you seek medical attention and document the incident, you will want to contact your insurance company to inform them of the incident. It is in your best interest to do so sooner rather than later. However, some victims may wish to seek legal counsel from a personal injury attorney before speaking with insurance companies to ensure that their legal rights are protected.
5. Seek Legal Counsel
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to pursue a claim against the appropriate party if you wish to seek compensation for your injuries. Your lawyer can discuss the case with witnesses, obtain your medical records and expert witnesses to build case on your behalf.
Additionally, in some drunk driving accidents, you may be entitled to hold more than one party accountable for your injuries. For instance, if the other driver was operating his or her vehicle while intoxicated and he or she was speeding when the brakes failed, thus causing an accident, you may be eligible to recover damages from not only the driver for irresponsibly operating the vehicle but also the manufacturer of the brakes, the auto maker, or the mechanic responsible for inspecting and maintaining the car as well.
For this reason, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as you are involved in a drunk driving accident; The Fernandez Firm can help to protect your legal rights, assist you in determining if you have a valid case and work to help you seek the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact us today at (800) 222-8163 to see how we can help you in your recovery from a drunk driving accident.