It’s bad enough being in a car accident that was caused by a distracted or careless driver. But when a driver is intoxicated or high, to the extent their ability to drive is impaired, any injuries they cause are rightly seen as the direct result of a reckless decision. You may have to prove that to get fair compensation for injuries, so here are some tips to keep in mind.
If you are injured in a car accident in the Columbia, SC area and you suspect the at-fault driver was drunk, you have quite a few things to think about right from the start. Ideally, you will want the drunk driver off the road, you want to preserve evidence if possible, and you are likely going to want legal help from a South Carolina car accident attorney as early as possible.
You absolutely have to notify the Columbia, SC police. Don’t question it. Just call them. Really. This isn’t the time for an exchange of insurance information and a handshake.
For Everyone’s Safety:
If you are in a car accident and you think the person who caused the accident was intoxicated, high, or even a little bit under the influence, getting that driver off the road could be a matter of life or death for the next person he or she might run into. If you suspect the other driver is under the influence, police must be notified.
Having police respond to an accident scene is almost always a good idea anyway, especially if a car accident involves injuries. If the other driver is intoxicated their behavior can be unpredictable, and they could become aggressive in circumstances a sober person would not. A police presence can help keep interactions civil and the parties separated, in addition to documenting the scene and statements made by everyone present.
So Police Can Test for Impairment:
If you are injured by a drunk driver, you will want to be able to prove it later. When police respond to an accident scene to investigate, you should have an opportunity to explain to police why you suspect the other driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That, in turn, should prompt the responding officers to look for signs of intoxication, including administering roadside sobriety tests, and potentially measuring blood alcohol levels through breath or blood samples. All their findings will go into their written report.
So Police Can Document:
Police records of investigation can be obtained later, and if they describe evidence of intoxication, or even a criminal charge for driving under the influence, both insurance adjusters and trial jurors are more likely to believe you. Police investigation and documentation helps you prove what happened to you and why, and that includes helping you prove the at-fault driver recklessly chose to drive when he or she was impaired.
Get The Treatment You Need
The importance of getting medical care when it is needed cannot be overstated. Plenty of people injured in car accidents later have to prove the cause and extent of their injuries to an insurance adjuster or to a jury. Insurance companies frequently argue that if a person was “really” injured they would have gone to the emergency room immediately. The longer an injured person waits to get needed care, the stronger that argument gets.
Sometimes injured people have very good reasons not to immediately go to an emergency room after a car accident. Depending on insurance coverage, it can be very expensive. People often hope pain following a car accident will clear up on its own, and then end up seeking treatment later if, and when, it doesn’t. Other reasons aren’t as good, like the injured person who just doesn’t want to “make a big deal” of something, or is worried about someone thinking they are being dramatic. Those are insecurities that can make injuries and injury cases worse.
Pain after a car accident is not an indication that everything is just fine. If you are feeling pain after a car accident, it is usually better to at least have it checked out than to go home and hope for the best.
Getting medical treatment and staying safe at the scene of a car accident are always top priorities. But the insurance industry may very well be trying to shirk its responsibility in the near future, so preserving and documenting evidence of what happened is also pretty important, if it can be done safely.
A victim of a drunk driver may have opportunities at the scene of a crash to gather and protect evidence that might be unavailable later. Uninjured passengers and bystanders can use their phones to capture:
• photos or video of vehicles, roadways, and damage done to vehicles;
• photos or video of injuries and treatment;
• video, recordings, or photos of the at-fault driver and other witnesses;
• names of ambulance services, responding police departments; and
• contact information for drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
Note: It is very important not to delete or destroy evidence gathered at the scene of a car accident. Cell phones have become key pieces of evidence in injury cases. If you use a phone to gather evidence, transfer and save/backup that evidence as soon as you can.
Call a South Carolina Car Accident Attorney
Car accidents caused by drunk drivers are more likely to involve serious, life-changing injuries, and may even involve outrageous behavior by the drunk driver after the crash. Expect pushback, resistance, or lower-than-fair offers made early. You have your choice of South Carolina car accident attorneys. Making the right call can make all the difference in both your experience and outcome. But do make a call. You can call Lee Injury Law directly at (803) 500-0000, or click here to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
If you find yourself on the phone with an insurance adjuster after being injured by a drunk driver, you may wonder why you’re getting the feeling they don’t believe you. You may wonder why the conversation is all about the wrong things. Don’t let them dictate the conversation or what fair compensation means for you. Call me instead.
Sometimes at-fault insurance companies try to rush injury victims into a settlement before anyone even knows what the total medical expenses are going to be. If they are especially worried about what their insured driver did wrong, such as when they know their insured driver was drunk or high, they are even more eager to close the book on your compensation. Don’t fall for it. You are not required to give a recorded statement. You are not required to accept the early offers, which are usually based on nothing other than the hope that you’ll sign away your rights before you even know what they are.
Insurance companies are not required to tell you what your rights are, and they can’t give you legal advice. You wouldn’t want them to. Their interests are not aligned with your interests. For most people it just does not make sense to do this without help. If you are injured in a car accident by a drunk driver, reach out to an expert. Talk to a South Carolina car accident attorney who can at least tell you what your rights are. You deserve to hear that from someone who isn’t just trying to get away with not paying you what they really should.