Merriam-Webster defines the word accident as, “a sudden event (such as a crash) that is not planned or intended and that causes damage or injury.” While many automobile accidents are just that, when an accident occurs because of a drunk driver, things get a little more complicated.
When a driver chooses to get behind the wheel despite being intoxicated, they are taking a risk with not only their property and life, but those of the people around them. This kind of negligence has caused countless numbers of injuries and deaths.
Unfortunately, while the police force here in Atlanta is doing all they can to keep drunk drivers off the roads, they are outnumbered and some drunk drivers fall through the cracks.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest, and about one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders.
A drunk driver’s victim will know first hand that the main cause in a DUI accident is the negligence of the other driver who chose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, despite the knowledge of the dangers of drinking and driving.
Because of that fact, it is important to treat drunk driving injury cases with care. If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, make sure to do the following 5 things:
1. Call the proper authorities
This may seem simple, but many people do not call the police or an ambulance if they have been in an accident. Calling the police and having them file a report is very important. It puts a non-biased professional on the scene. A police report can help immensely if you need to go to court. Documentation is key in many court cases, and a police report will be a powerful document to not only prove that the driver was drunk, but also the level of his or her drunkenness. You will also need to seek medical help for your injuries. Seeking medical help gets you the help you need while also creating yet another paper trail of professionals that will come in handy in a courtroom.
2. Get the drunk driver’s information
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need to rely on someone else to do this. The police on the scene will be a good source for this information if you are not well enough to get it yourself.
3. Call a personal injury lawyer
It is important to understand what your rights are when you have been in an accident. For instance, you may be contacted from an insurance company or one may even come to the scene of the accident. A lawyer will remind you that you do not have to speak to either your insurance company or the drunk driver’s insurance company. In this example, an experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer will have protected you from having your words come back to haunt you at a later date.
4. Make a list of witnesses
Retrieve their contact information. A witness will be able to further prove your claims in the future, but only if you know who they are and how you can contact them.
5. Document everything
The more documentation you have, the better. If you are injured it can be helpful to keep a journal of your recovery. An injury journal is a great way to record your pain levels and the length of time it has taken for you to recover. If you keep a detailed recovery journal you will have a better idea of the severity of your injuries and the dates of any procedures or therapy appointments that you have attended. This kind of journal not only helps you in your communication with your doctors or specialists, but may be used if you need to go to court.
If you have been in an Atlanta accident with someone who was drinking, call The Patterson Cozzo Law Firm at 770-422-8840.