You Were Hit by a Drunk Driver. Now What?
Drunk driving is a problem across the country, especially in California. With all the big cities and exciting nightlife venues, millions of drunk drivers have taken to the roads over the years, often resulting in fatal accidents. What happens if you’re hit by a drunk driver while driving? Can you take legal action and fight for damages and compensation? Can you sue the driver? What is the first thing you should do immediately following an accident?
Contact the Police and Seek Medical Attention
One of the first things you should do if you’re hit by a drunk driver is to keep calm and contact the police. Having a police report on file is one of the best ways to prove the driver who hit you was under the influence at the time of the accident. Additionally, contact medical professionals, even if you don’t think you’re injured. When it comes to auto accidents, sometimes injuries don’t show up right away, so it’s always best to get checked out. You may also consider visiting a doctor later on if any odd symptoms pop up or you notice an unfamiliar pain flare up out of nowhere.
Also, if possible, try to get the following information from the other driver:
- License plate number
- Driver’s license number
- Insurance company phone number and name
If you’re safely able to take photos or videos of the accident site, those would also be helpful when trying to seek justice. Pictures of your vehicle and the driver’s vehicle, license plate numbers, damage to your vehicle, all of these would be good to have photo evidence. The information is also important to have on hand so you can file a lawsuit or insurance claim.
In California, drunk driving is considered gross negligence. If you’re involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be able to fight for punitive damages. These types of damages are designed to punish the negligent driver who, in the case of drunk driving, failed to take proper care while operating a vehicle. It’s important to note that punitive damages aren’t covered by insurance, and are paid by the guilty party. The damages often help victims cover the cost of medical care for injuries and other damages.
If you do decide to pursue a lawsuit against the drunk driver, and that driver happens to have a prior DUI conviction, your case will be even stronger. During the litigation process, the guilty party’s insurance company will probably reach out and attempt to offer a settlement. To help navigate the process, it’s best to have an experienced attorney on your side. Fortunately, the skilled San Jose DUI accident attorneys at Solution Now Law Firm have years of experience helping victims like you get the justice you deserve.
If you were recently injured in a drunk driving accident, give our team a call. We understand the litigation process may seem daunting, but you have a right to punitive damages and justice. We can help. Call us today at 408-256-2871.