After an accident with a drunk driver, your statements and actions at the scene and over the days and weeks that follow will influence the outcome of your personal injury claim. Although every collision is unique, there are a few steps all victims can take to protect their rights. Those steps include:
- Call the Police
The sooner law enforcement personnel arrive at the scene, the better. Police will direct traffic away from the area, conduct chemical tests, obtain witness statements, and draft an official report. They will also protect you in the event that the drunk driver becomes aggressive.
- Photograph the Wreckage
Once police have taken control of the situation, walk around the scene and take photos from all angles. Be sure to capture both small and large details including skid marks, broken glass, weather conditions, injuries, and deployed airbags. If there’s a liability dispute, your attorney may bring in an accident reconstruction expert to review these photos and determine what happened in the moments leading up to the crash.
- Gather Pertinent Information
You should record the following information before leaving the scene:
- The names and phone numbers of all motorists and passengers involved;
- The registration details and insurance information of all vehicles involved;
- The contact details of any eyewitnesses; and
- The names and badge numbers of all responding officers.
- Seek Medical Care
You have the right to refuse medical care at the scene, and you may be inclined to do so if other victims sustained more serious injuries. However, it’s absolutely essential that you visit a doctor as soon as possible.
Even if you don’t feel severely hurt, you may have sustained injuries that have latent symptoms such as whiplash or internal bleeding. You could also be in shock, which can mask even the most painful injuries.
- Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Once your health has stabilized, call a lawyer right away. By hiring an attorney early in the proceedings, you may be less likely to make a critical mistake that would hurt your chances of collecting a fair settlement. For example, your lawyer will handle all dialogue with the insurance company so you don’t make any compromising statements. Your attorney can also:
- Conduct a thorough investigation into the accident;
- Track damages;
- Interview eyewitnesses;
- Consult with experts;
- Gather evidence of fault;
- Calculate a fair settlement;
- Negotiate with the insurance adjuster; and
- Prepare the case for trial if necessary.
Call 212-980-6800 for a Free Consultation with a New York City Car Accident Lawyer
If you were hurt in a drunk driving accident, contact Charnas Law Firm. Led by attorney Scott Charnas, who’s licensed to practice in both New York and Massachusetts, our firm has helped hundreds of victims and their families recover the compensation they need to make their lives whole again. Call 212-980-6800 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a car accident attorney in New York City.