Being involved in a traffic accident is always a scary and stressful time. A majority of incidents result in minor property damage and no injuries. However, if you or a loved one are hit by an irresponsible drunk driver, the situation can be much worse.

There are many things you will need to deal with immediately after the accident, but the first thing to do is remember not to panic. The actions you take following the crash will have a significant impact on your ability to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.

The process of dealing with a drunk incident can be challenging, so our legal experts have compiled guidelines of what to do if involved in an accident with a drunk driver.

At the Scene of the Accident
If the crash has just occurred and you’re on the scene, do the following (if you’re physically able to do so):

  • Call the police. Even if the damages appear minimal, it is your civic duty to let the authorities know there is a person driving under the influence on the roads. By calling the police you also guarantee the accident is documented, which is crucial when you file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident.
  • Gather information.Important information includes but is not limited to: the at-fault driver’s contact and insurance information, license plate, and potential witness information. The police can provide these details if you do not feel comfortable speaking with the driver, or if the driver is too intoxicated to communicate. Make sure you obtain the accident report claim number so you can request a copy. Additionally, take photos of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles, and any visible injuries. You will need this information for your insurance claim or lawsuit.
  • Seek medical attention. Never refuse medical treatment, even if you feel fine immediately after the crash. Some accident-related injuries can take hours or days before pain or other adverse effects appear. A medical professional can diagnose and treat any injuries before they turn into a chronic issue. Plus, if your injuries are documented, it will help you obtain the maximum compensation during the settled process.
  • Call your insurance company. Most care insurance companies require that you notify them of an accident, even if you aren’t at fault.

After the Accident
  • Don’t sign anything. The drunk driver’s insurance company may try to offer you a quick settlement soon after the accident. You’ll be asked to sign a release of liability form if you agree to a settlement, barring you from any further accident-related injury claims. It’s best to wait until you know the full extent of your injuries, damages, and expenses before accepting any settlement. If you accept too soon, you may not receive the proper compensation. You will have more leverage if you wait to settle after the at-fault driver is convicted or pleads guilty to driving under the influence (DUI). In most cases, the insurance company would rather settle out of court than have the case go to trial.
  • Contact an attorney. If you feel the insurance company is giving you the runaround or compensating you less than what you deserve, call an attorney for legal advice. The skilled attorneys at Hudgins Law Firm will represent you and your best interests to the insurance companies or at trial should your case go to court.
  • Document your recovery. In the days and weeks following the accident, it is important that you document your injuries and medical care as well as your recovery process. Keep a notebook or journal to keep track of your recovery and ongoing medical care.  This includes recording information about your appointment, medical treatment, rehab, and recovery progress. If the injuries and resulting pain hinder your daily life in any way, make a note of it. Also document any medications and medical bills. All of this can be used as evidence during settlement negotiation or if your case goes to trial.
  • Attend legal proceedings. It is essential to be present at hearings, trials, or other proceedings where the drunk driver is facing prosecution. The evidence you provide can determine what charges the driver is charged with, and eventually, convicted of.

If you’ve been the victim or have lost a loved one due to a Florida drunk driving auto accident, you need someone on your side to help you navigate the legal system. For more than 35 years, Hudgins Law Firm
has represented many who have endured similar tragedies. We’re here to support you, answer your questions, and take some of the burden off your shoulders. Call us at 800-950-5534 or fill out our contact form
to schedule a free consultation.