When you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, the actions that you take after the crash could determine how much financial compensation you can get for your accident. Of course, there is not much that you can do at the scene of the accident other than telling the police what you saw if you are alert and able.
Law enforcement can show up and do the work on the criminal side to apprehend the driver and charge them criminally. Your focus should be on your health and the legal process that would lead to financial compensation.
Below are some steps you should take after being hit by a drunk driver. For more information, call our office today to speak with a Greenville drunk driving attorney.
See Necessary Doctors to Get the Medical Help You Need
Your first priority should be to get medical help after a drunk driving accident. Even if you received treatment at the scene of the accident, you should still visit doctors in the days after the accident to get checked out and diagnosed. Then, you should follow their medical recommendations to the letter.
The insurance company likely would not challenge liability in a drunk driving accident, so they would need to find other ways to cloud your picture. One way would be to claim that you did not mitigate your own damages, as is your duty in any personal injury case. You must do what is within your power to help yourself after the accident and keep your damages from getting worse. In addition, the sooner you get medical care, the sooner you will reach the point of maximum medical improvement where you can file a claim.
Furthermore, you need a comprehensive medical diagnosis and record to begin the claims or lawsuit process. To know how much to seek in damages, you must know the extent of your injuries. Everything depends on how badly you have been injured, including your payment for lost wages and pain and suffering. Your diagnosis and prognosis should be clearly documented for the insurance company to review once you have made your claim.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer to Work for Drunk Driving Accident Compensation
Before you file a claim, you should also contact an experienced car accident lawyer. Many drunk driving accidents result in serious injuries, often because the crashes occur without warning and at high speeds. By hiring a drunk driving accident attorney, you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery while your lawyer focuses on maximizing your compensation.
Your drunk driving accident settlement should pay you for the following damages:
- Your complete medical expenses
- Lost wages for the time that you missed from work
- Pain and suffering for the accident ordeal that you have been subjected to
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Embarrassment and humiliation
- Wrongful death damages, if a loved one was killed in the accident
Note that we used the word “should” because the insurance company does not always want to pay you the damages that you deserve. Realistically, they should pay you the full damages that you have suffered because a jury would certainly award them, but an insurance company likes to push its luck to see what it can get away with practically every time. By hiring an attorney, you can protect your rights and ensure that you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Work with Your Lawyer to Maximize Your Recovery
You likely do not know how much compensation you deserve in your case. For example, pain and suffering are subjective and depend on your personal experience. The more serious your injuries, the more you should receive in pain and suffering damages. Your attorney provides value to your case by estimating your damages and coming up with a number to seek in a claim or lawsuit.
For this reason, you should work closely with your lawyer to obtain the evidence you need to get the compensation you deserve. For example, if your lawyer suggests seeing a specialist, you should go, even if you think you are getting better on your own.
Further, you need an attorney’s know-how when it comes to negotiating with the insurance company. In the end, your settlement is a number that you and the insurance company agree on as full payment for your injuries. In other words, you have a say in the matter. While you cannot force the insurance company to pay the fair amount on your own (without a jury), you can certainly say no when they offer you too little.
In this regard, an attorney would review any settlement offer that you receive and respond to the insurance company after you have made a decision whether to accept or reject the settlement offer (with the advice of your lawyer).
Call a Greenville Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
The Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm fights for injured clients like you because we are dedicated to getting justice for those who need it. A drunk driving accident is a personal injury where there is an extra demand for accountability.
If you or a loved one have been injured, you should call us today at (864) 280-7660 or message us online to schedule your free initial consultation. You owe us nothing unless you win your case by getting a settlement or a jury award.
Drunk Driving Accident FAQs
What if the driver was acquitted of the DUI charges?
A civil case has a lower standard of proof, so an acquittal does not mean the end of your quest for compensation. Furthermore, if the driver was negligent in some other way (such as speeding or running a red light), you can still recover compensation.
Does the insurance company pay punitive damages?
No. You can only get punitive damages by going to court. That said, they are very rare, so the mere desire for punitive damages should not be the only factor in deciding to pursue a lawsuit.
What if the insurance company will not pay me what I think I deserve?
You can file a lawsuit against the responsible driver, and if the court finds that the other driver is at fault, a judge or jury will award damages.