Being involved in a car accident is never a pleasant proposition. A severe one could cost you your life, and/or the lives of your loved ones. There's also the distinct possibility of significant injuries and a pile of medical bills to care for/treat them.
Then there is the damage to the vehicle and the accompanying headaches that come with dealing with insurance companies. If you were at fault, there's also the traffic tickets, the court hearings, the eventual adjudications and fines...and let's not even get into the whole lawsuit situation that can play out in civil court. Like we said...not a pleasant proposition.
But let's say that you, unfortunately, are the victim of an erratic driver under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. After the accident, as long as you are able bodied and capable of making decisions, there are several things to consider. There are also a series of things you must do in order to protect your legal rights and secure your side of the situation/story should the matter come before the court. Here are just a few:
1. Call the Police. The best thing you can do in accident situation where one of the parties is clearly under the influence is to get law enforcement involved. They have the skill and the experience to recognize the signs of a possible DUI and how to protect the scene for future legal consideration. Don't try to resolve things yourself. Get the cops involved.
2. Write Down Important Information. Get the other driver's license plate number, if you can. Mark the location and the position of your vehicle. Pay attention to the facts (weather, road conditions, traffic) - basically, begin the process of preparing your side of the story. This material will help your lawyer draft the case which he or she will need to properly protect your interests.
3. Require a Sobriety Test. Once the police arrive, if they are reluctant to administer a field sobriety test (including the drawing of blood and/or a breathalizer), demand one. Don't let them talk you out of it, and if they fail to do so, make a note of it. Most in law enforcement will do this without asking, but it's important to remember this.
4. Be Patient. Situations like this don't resolve themselves immediately. The police are highly skilled and trained to investigate an accident scene and gather the appropriate information. This means if there are several witnesses and a question over the facts, it will take law enforcement longer to deliver their report. So be patient. It will pay off in the end.
5. Contact An Attorney. Once the scene is clear, the vehicles have been towed, and all injuries accounted for and addressed, seek out legal representation. They know how to handle tricky insurance adjusters looking to trick you out your rightful recovery. And considering that there may be a DUI charge involved, it's best to have someone well versed in the law than to try and handle everything yourself.
While the odds are against you being involved in such a difficult and damaging situation, it's always good to be prepared for the worst. So remember - if you are in a car accident with someone who is clearly "under the influence," remember the steps suggested above (especially #5) and protect yourself and your rights.
Attorney, Brian Lee Nash has nearly a decade of experience working with a wide range of clients. He brings a vast amount of knowledge, drive, and determination to every case he works with.
If you have been involved in a car accident, know someone who has, or are currently fighting the insurance companies over liability and damage, contact Nash Law, PLLC today at 615-628-7555.
This article was written by the author on behalf of Nash Law, PLLC.