Each year, about 10,000 people die in drunk driving accidents in the U.S. More than 3,500 of those deaths occur on California roads. Of course, this isn’t a statistic most people want to consider. But if you spend any time behind the wheel, it’s important that you understand the dangers.
The aftermath of any car accident is chaotic. Add alcohol to the situation and things can get out of control quickly. Sometimes, worst-case scenarios are unavoidable.
If you do find yourself in a drunk driving accident, stay on top of the situation by answering these four questions:
1. Does the Other Driver Have Insurance?
To answer this question, you will need to make sure you file a police report at the scene of the accident. Any police officer who is called to the scene will compile this and other related information.
Later, you can obtain the report, which can help you to determine whether your injuries and damages will be covered by insurance.
It is uncommon, but sometimes, a driver will not have adequate insurance to pay for the damages they cause. In those cases, it may be necessary to take the driver to court to pursue compensation.
Understanding where the driver stands on insurance will help you know where to turn for coverage.
2. Was Anyone Injured?
If anyone was injured in the accident, make sure to call for medical care. Even if you don’t feel a lot of pain, make sure that you visit a medical professional immediately after the accident. Sometimes, the shock of the accident itself can mask common symptoms of pain.
If you have adequate medical records showing that you pursued treatment right away, you can begin to build a case to pursue compensation for your injuries from the other driver.
3. Is the Bar or Restaurant that Served the Alcohol Liable?
It can be difficult to prove that a bar or restaurant is liable for your injuries or damages. In California, a third party is usually only held liable if they served alcohol to a minor.
With that being said, you may be able to pursue criminal charges against an establishment if it appears they acted negligently. Did the third party serve alcohol to a known or habitual drunkard? If the answer is yes, the establishment may be charged with a misdemeanor, according to California Business and Professions Code Section 25602.
4. Do You Have a Lawyer?
This last question is the most important. Without a lawyer, it can be difficult to navigate the specific nuances of your case.
When you hire a legal professional, you can expect them to offer the following services:
- Obtain and evaluate the police report
- Pursue insurance claims
- Collect your medical records
- Help you to fight for adequate compensation for your injuries and/or damages
After you have been hit by a drunk driver, we recommend that you call an attorney immediately. That way, you can move forward with professional guidance. A lawyer will work hard to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Drive Defensively and Avoid DUI Accidents Whenever Possible
The primary goal is always to avoid these accidents in the first place. To do that, we recommend that you drive safely and defensively.
Defensive driving is easy and requires only a little more focus and awareness than you may typically implement. Safe driving habits will help to protect you from drunk, distracted, or negligent drivers that you may encounter on the road.