By now, everybody knows the dangers of driving drunk or intoxicated. Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t appear to be going away. The NHTSA estimates 30 people die in drunk driving crashes each day in the United States.
Alcohol causes negative side effects in your central nervous system, making it difficult to drive safely. In most states, the legal limit is a blood alcohol concentration of .08. If your BAC reaches this level, you will have poor muscle coordination and may suffer from lapses in judgment. Perception also becomes more difficult. However, even if your BAC is below the legal limit, you can still suffer from reduced coordination and lower reaction times.
Accidents involving drunk drivers can cause lots of damage – vehicle damage and personal injuries (in fact, per the NHTSA, drunk driving wrecks cost society $44 billion per year). If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, there are certain steps you can take in order to protect your rights and properly recover for your losses.
1. Call the Police
After any auto accident, you should call 911. This is even more important after a drunk driving accident. Responding officers will assess the scene and look for clues of intoxication, including the odor of alcohol and slurred speech. If intoxication is suspected, the officer may arrest the suspect and perform a breathalyzer, field sobriety test, or call for a blood test. If the results are positive, criminal charges may be filed.
2. Cooperate with the Police and Prosecutor
If the other driver tests positive for alcohol or drugs, criminal charges for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) may be filed. If charges are filed, the defendant will have to appear in court and possibly face trial. The prosecutor or District Attorney may call you to serve as a witness in the case. It is recommended that you cooperate with the prosecution, or the case could be dismissed for lack of evidence
3. Monitor the Defendant’s Criminal Case
In contrast to the defendant driver’s DUI or DWI case in criminal court, personal injury claim falls within civil law. The burden of proof in a civil law case (preponderance of the evidence) is lower than criminal court (beyond a reasonable doubt). Even if charges are dropped in criminal court, you could still prove intoxication in your civil claim. It is important to keep track of what happens in the criminal case because information or evidence could be used in your personal injury case.
4. Seek Medical Care for Your Injuries
If you’ve been hurt, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your health can depend on the timeliness in which you receive the medical treatment you need. Obtaining prompt treatment can prevent an illness or condition from turning into something more serious. Regarding your case, you will need to prove that the drunk driver’s carelessness caused the injuries you suffered, so it is important for your symptoms and diagnoses to be documented by a doctor.
5. Hire a Dedicated Auto Accident Attorney to Fight for Your Rights
An accident can flip your world in an instant. In a drunk driving accident case, you can benefit from having an experienced lawyer on your side. You should make sure your attorney will perform a thorough investigation into the accident, obtain all police reports, and contact witnesses. Your attorney can also monitor the defendant’s criminal case for you and speak with the prosecutor in an effort to learn as much about the case as possible. Your attorney can also obtain evidence proving the defendant’s level of intoxication and utilize this information on your behalf, such as pursuing punitive damages and any other form of damages to which you may be entitled.
Hit by a Drunk Driver? Call NST Law Today
When you hire NST Law, you retain a team of lawyers and paralegals dedicated to fighting for your rights and protecting your interests. Our full service personal injury law firm is here to help with all aspects of your case so you can focus on your recovery. For a free consultation with a car wreck lawyer today, call us at 800-529-4004 or complete our online form. Let us show you why NST is the way to go.