Drunk driving is a serious offense, taking more than 10,000 lives annually in the United States alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Tougher laws have hardly stemmed the tide against driving under the influence (DUI), which demonstrates how pernicious the problem is. If you’re involved in an accident with a drunk driver and have survived, there may be a legal remedy that goes beyond collecting compensation from an insurance company. We’ll examine what you can do to fight back against the scourge of drunk driving, especially when it becomes personal.
Post-Accident Care and Compensation
1. Take care of yourself first. Surviving a car accident goes beyond luck and happenstance. The care you receive post-crash is of utmost importance and may determine how your injuries affect you for the rest of your life. Work with your medical team to find the best care possible for your condition. Follow the doctor’s instructions and continue treatment until you’re told to stop. Not before.
2. Seek legal assistance early. While seeking medical relief, you must reach out to an attorney to review your case. There are DUI accident lawyers whose job is to protect the rights of accident victims. These professionals are adept in handling drunk driving matters and will build a case to take on the drunk driver or this individual’s estate. Your loss may go beyond your personal injury — other passengers may have been injured or killed. A qualified attorney will explain your options and how the litigation process works.
3. Cooperate with your attorney. Once you hire an attorney, you’ll need to work closely with this professional to ensure that your rights are protected. You can expect your legal team to thoroughly investigate your case, including reviewing the accident report and medical records, interviewing witnesses, and possibly hiring other professionals to aid your case, if needed. The attorney’s goal here is two-fold: 1), to hold those responsible for the accident accountable, and 2), to ensure you receive adequate compensation.
4. Review your case. Before your case heads to court or a settlement is made, review your medical records. It is important to understand the extent of your injuries, the long-term impact such injuries will have on your life and the way you live, and possible problems that may emerge down the line. The same steps should cover everyone else who was hurt. In effect, you must determine that your medical information is accurate, including when pre-existing conditions exist.
5. Understand the settlement. Most personal injury cases never go to trial as insurance companies offer a settlement outside of court. If you do go to trial, a settlement offer may be made before the case concludes. Regardless of when a settlement is offered, your attorney will explain the details and make a recommendation. If you don’t understand something or think the offer isn’t strong enough, let your attorney know. You should also understand whether your legal costs are taken from the settlement (thereby reducing your compensation), or if they’re paid by the defendant (or his insurer) separately. Millions of dollars may be involved here, thus it is important to understand what you’re receiving.
The Attorney’s Goal: Make One Whole
Most any car accident, including one involving a drunk driver, can leave you damaged — physically, emotionally, and financially. Your attorney will seek redress, with an eye to “make one whole.” This statement means your attorney will seek to restore you as close to the position you were in before the accident.
Public domain photo acquired from Wikipedia.