Drunk driving is a serious issue on the road – in 2016, there were 10,497 fatalities resulting from alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents, accounting for 28 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the US. But what happens if you are in an accident with an alcohol-impaired driver? Can you receive compensation for the incident? We cover all that and more below.
Will I receive compensation if a drunk driver hit me?
Before you file a lawsuit, you should first know that if you were hit by a drunk driver, there’s a high likelihood you can file a personal injury claim against the driver and be compensated for any injuries that occur from the crash. However, if you happen to live in a no-fault state, matters could become a little muddied. Florida is a no-fault state, so drivers would have to first go through their own insurers to cover the cost of damages.
What you should do if you’ve been hit by a drunk driver
You should do the following if you end up in a car accident with another driver who’s under the influence:
Before anything, if you or anyone is suffering from a serious injury, you need to dial 911. Serious medical injuries need to be tended to ASAP. If you find that you are able to move or not suffering from any immediate injuries, you need to check on the other driver and any passengers of either vehicle.
Call the police
If everyone seems to be okay, call the police. You need to ensure that the accident is well-documented for lawsuits and insurance claims. Furthermore, the police will be able to perform roadside tests and make an arrest if necessary.
Collect any information regarding the incident
You need to obtain any evidence of the accident. Take photos of:
- The damages to both vehicles
- Your location
- The road conditions/marks on the road caused by the accident
- Any damage to property
You’ll also need written evidence, such as:
- The time of day/conditions
- A description of the damages
- Detailed account of the occurrence
- Eye-witness accounts
Seek medical treatment
If you didn’t have immediate injuries from the car accident, you should still seek medical attention. There are injuries with symptoms that won’t surface immediately, like traumatic brain injuries.
Contact a personal injury attorney
Before filing any insurance claims or lawsuits, please contact a personal injury attorney, who will help you file a personal injury claim with your insurance company and the at-fault party’s insurance company. Additionally, a personal injury attorney will also help you gather evidence, contact any witnesses, and obtain your medical records so that you can focus on your recovery.
Proving liability in a DUI-related accident
Police generally will have records of the DUI, if the driver was believed to be intoxicated enough to require a BAC test. An attorney will be able to obtain a copy of the police report with this information, which will assist in proving the at-fault driver was reckless enough to disregard public safety.
Types of damages received as compensation
Regardless of who’s at fault for the DUI-related accident, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance will allow you to recover lost wages and medical treatment expenses in Florida. You can, however, still file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for the following:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills, both long-term and short-term
- Pain and suffering
- Rehabilitation fees
- Wrongful death
What if I was drunk and in an accident that I didn’t cause?
If you didn’t cause the accident and were driving drunk when the collision occurred, then you still may be held responsible for your actions, as drunk drivers are generally considered not only reckless but also negligent. You will then need an excellent attorney to defend you. After all, even if you were determined to not be at fault, you will still be charged with a DUI. As a result, you will at least face penalties as determined by the law, including potential jail time and suspension of your license.
Consult a personal attorney should you be involved in a DUI-related motor vehicle accident
A DUI is a serious crime, as it is considered endangerment to the general public. If you are involved in a DUI-related accident that is not your fault, immediately seek help for threatening injuries, call the police, and collect any information regarding the accident, including the contact information of the other driver(s). After the accident, consult a personal injury attorney so that you can successfully seek and win the compensation you deserve for your injuries.