What to do After a Drunk Driving Accident
Year after year, drunk driving continues to be a problem in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 30 people die every day as a result of a drunk driver. Unfortunately, a recent reportfound that Nevada has seen a rise in drunk driving arrests compared to this time last year. In fact, during one month this year, the number of DUI arrests nearly doubled from the same month just one year prior.
If you have been the victim of a drunk driving accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation. The choices you make following an accident can directly affect the outcome of your case. If you are in an accident, here’s what you need to do:
The Aftermath: Things You Should Do Immediately Following an Accident
Every time you get on the road, there is a possibility you will be involved in an accident. That said, when it actually happens, most of us are not prepared. Accidents are scary and it’s natural for your emotions to set in. However, it’s important to keep a clear head. The steps you take directly after the accident and the days that follow can have a substantial effect on your recovery. So what should you do?
- Stay at the scene: You may have an instinct to get away from it all and just go home. This will not help your case, and is in fact, against the law. After an accident, pull over to the side of the road and get yourself to safety.
- Avoid confrontations: After an accident, we typically advise drivers to exchange insurance information with the other party. However, when a drunk driver is involved, it is usually best to avoid any interaction. A drunk person is unpredictable and may be agitated, angry or aggressive. Remain in your car and call the police.
- Gather evidence: Once the police arrive, you need to give your statement and gather any evidence. The police will take a written report and may take pictures, but this is for their criminal case. It’s always a good idea to take pictures of the scene to be able to reconstruct the accident for the insurance companies.
- Go to the doctor: If you believe you have a serious injury, an ambulance will take you to the hospital. But even if you feel fine, it’s always a good idea to go to the doctor for a thorough check-up. This helps rule out any life-threatening injuries.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney: You have rights after an accident. It’s important to know, you don’t have to do this alone. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you talk to the insurance companies and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Proving Fault After a Drunk Driver Hits You
Fault following a drunk driving accident may seem pretty straightforward. However, often it’s not. Many drivers will deny liability or even the fact that they were drinking. It is not your job to prove the other driver was intoxicated or even your attorneys. Only the police can prove intoxication. However, you can take steps to prove fault. This includes:
- Accident scene pictures: Once again, photos are one of your biggest assets in a personal injury case. Take pictures of your vehicle, the other vehicle, and any other items that might be relevant.
- Witness testimony: First-hand accounts of the accident can help the insurance companies understand what happened. If there were witnesses at the scene, be sure to get their names and contact information.
- The driver’s previous record: While a previous DUI does not automatically prove fault, it does help show a pattern. Your attorney will be able to obtain these records from the police.
- Any citations given at the time of the accident: Did the police ticket the other driver? This is hard evidence for the insurance company to ignore.
Who Holds Fault for Your Accident?
There are several ways to recover damages after a drunk driving accident. In some cases, it may be more than just the other driver who holds financial responsibility. Other parties who may hold financial responsibility include:
A social host: Nevada’s dram shop laws hold social hosts responsible for over serving guests and letting them leave. If you can show the driver became intoxicated at a party or social gathering, the host may hold some financial responsibility.
A bar server: Dram shop laws protect servers in most circumstances. However, if the bartender knowingly served a person under the age of 21, they may hold responsibility.
A third party: Consider the following example – Two people get together to have a few drinks. One of the parties loans the other person their car to get more. That person then gets in an accident. The owner of the car may be found liable because they should have known the risks of the other person driving their car while being intoxicated.
Potential Damages for Your Personal Injury Case
A personal injury case can help you recover damages you suffer after a drunk driving accident. The purpose of a personal injury case is to help you become whole and recover from losses you sustained as a result of the accident. Damages can vary case by case, but may include:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Nevada’s Statute of Limitations
Nevada law limits how long victims have to pursue damages from the at-fault party. Cases brought before the court after this time will likely not be heard. In Nevada, the statute of limitations for automobile accidents is two years. Keep in mind, you want to allow your attorney enough time to build a solid case. For this reason, you should consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
A drunk driving accident can change your world in the blink of an eye. You don’t have to suffer alone. At Gina Corena & Associates, our job is to help our clients get what they deserve. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact Gina Corena & Associates at 702-680-1111 or fill out our online form for a free initial case evaluation.