What Happens if I’m Hit by a Drunk Driver?
By Chris Dixon
Being in any sort of car accident is a traumatic experience, but being hit by a drunk driver can be especially traumatic. The number one concern that you should have after being hit by a drunk driver is to focus on recovering. Let the police and a close friend collect evidence from the scene of the accident, get the other driver’s contact information, and call a drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as you’re feeling better to get started on your car accident claim against a drunk driver.
If you are involved in a drunk driving accident, it isn’t enough to suspect that the other driver is intoxicated, probable cause must be found. In the moments after the crash, you need to call the police and have them report to the scene of the accident. If police suspect that the driver is intoxicated, they will attempt to perform a “PAS” test which is a preliminary alcohol screening. Legally, an intoxicated driver has the right to refuse to blow into a PAS device, but intoxication can still be proved with field sobriety tests and dash cam videos from the responding officers that visibly show the driver slurring or stumbling. If police prove that the other driver is intoxicated this will be included in an official police report. A police report is a powerful tool that can help your drunk driving lawyer prove that the other driver is at-fault for the accident along with evidence from the scene such as pictures, witness accounts and any injuries that you received in the accident.
State Laws and Consequences for Drunk Driving
Drunk driving laws vary from state to state, but all focus on penalizing the intoxicated driver if they are found to be at-fault for an accident. The most common methods of punishment that are followed include:
- Ignition interlocks which force the driver to blow into the device to prove that their blood alcohol content (BAC) is under the legal limit
- Loss or suspension of license either temporarily or permanently
- Possible jail time, which in some states can be as much as six months
- Fines and fees ranging from $500 to $2,000 depending on state laws
- Requiring the intoxicated driver to enroll in an alcohol abuse program
Is a Drunk Driver Always At-Fault?
Drunk driving is a negligent driving behavior, but it does not prove that a drunk driver is at-fault for an accident they’re involved in. If the other driver’s lawyer claims that the accident was not caused by the driver’s intoxication, it must be proved that they caused the accident in some other way. This is where collecting additional evidence from the scene of the accident, filing a police report and obtaining a medical report for accident-related injuries comes into play in proving ‘fault’ for the accident. Your drunk driving accident lawyer will use this evidence to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company to your advantage and prove the drunk driver is liable for the accident. The insurance negotiation process can make for a lot of back and forth, but in the end it is necessary to get the most in compensation for your drunk driving claim against the other driver.
Speak with a Drunk Driving Attorney to See How They Can Help
Drunk driving is a serious offense, so if you have been hit by a drunk driver you need to call a drunk driving accident lawyer immediately if you haven’t already done so. State laws vary for drunk driving and can be difficult to understand so it is vital to your car accident claim against a drunk driver to speak with a drunk driving attorney about the details of your case. Your lawyer will know your state’s laws on drunk driving and how to best proceed with your case. They will give you an overview of the settlement process, help you write a persuasive demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company and fight for your case in court if the insurance company does not accept or meet your demands for settlement. Ready to speak with a drunk driving attorney about your accident claim against a drunk driver? Feel free to contact the Dixon Injury Firm and see how we can help you with your car accident case involving a drunk driver.