It's not always easy to know what to do after a car accident, and can get even more complicated if you get hit by a drunk driver. If you suffered an injury in the accident, it can feel even more complex. These are normal reactions to a traumatic event, and you are certainly not alone if you have this experience.
So, how should a person proceed after getting hit by a drunk driver? In broad strokes, very carefully.
It is always wise to wait for police to arrive at the scene of an accident, especially one involving a drunk driver. Any documentation that you can make at the scene of the accident will prove helpful when dealing with any insurance companies later on.
The first thing you should do after leaving the scene of any injury accident is seek out professional medical care. If you choose to wait to seek care, not only might your injury worsen, you may complicate your own personal injury claim later on.
Who is at fault?
It is a common misconception that drunk drivers are always at fault in a drunk driving accident. Depending on the facts of the case, you may also bear some liability in the accident.
Of course, any investigation into an accident involving a drunk driver is going to focus heavily on the drunk driver's impairment. While the drunk driver probably is at least partially at fault, you are still responsible for your role in the accident, just as you are in any other kind of car accident.
Let's imagine your accident occurs because you made an abrupt turn in front of another driver and they strike you. If the driver is drunk, you do not immediately get a free pass on making a driving error. In this case, the drunk driver probably faces charges for impaired driving, while you may also face liability for the accident.
Do I need a lawyer to pursue an injury claim?
Technically, you don't have to use a lawyer to file a personal injury claim. Of course, you also don't, technically, need to take your car to an auto mechanic when something goes wrong with it, but it usually wise unless you have a significant amount of experience diagnosing and fixing your car.
Attorneys are not magicians, but an attorney with experience pursuing personal injury claims understands the process and can help you build a strong case, avoid common pitfalls in the claims process, and usually negotiate significantly greater settlements with insurance companies.
Furthermore, an attorney takes on the burden of fighting for your rights and fair treatment so that you can focus on the important work of recovering from your injury.