The level of irresponsibility involved in getting behind the wheel drunk is difficult for most of us to comprehend, but drunk drivers are out there, and they take dangerous driving to new heights. If a drunk driver leaves you injured, there are some important first steps that you should take to help preserve your health and your car accident claim. One of the most important of these is consulting with an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney.
Get the Medical Help You Need
After being in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, the first order of business is obtaining the medical attention that you need. If the med techs at the scene offer you emergency care or transportation to the hospital, accept it. If not, seek care on your own. Even if you think your injuries are minor, it is important to rule out anything that may be slow to reveal itself, such as an internal injury. The adrenaline that’s coursing through you and the shock associated with being in a violent accident can mask the pain of a serious injury. Another significant point to make is that obtaining the medical care that you need and carefully following your doctor’s instructions are not only important to your recovery but are also best for your car accident case, which hinges upon your ability to clearly demonstrate the damages you’ve suffered as a result of the drunk driver.
Gather Evidence at the Scene
If you are able to gather evidence at the scene of the accident, do so. If not, enlist a bystander or passenger to do so on your behalf. Try to include all of the following:
- Eyewitness testimonies and contact information
- Photos and videos that capture both vehicles and their positions, the damage to the vehicles, the location of the accident, and anything that may have contributed to the accident, such as a poorly maintained roadway, an impediment to a clear view, or anything else
- Photos of any evidence of the other driver’s negligence, such as skid marks
- Photos of your injuries
In addition to collecting evidence at the scene, it’s an excellent idea to jot down all of your recollections about how the accident happened as soon after the accident as possible. The shock and stress of the accident can wreak havoc with your memory, and having the written account can go a long way toward bolstering your car accident claim.
A Note About the Insurance Company
You have been injured by another driver’s negligence, and this means you’ll file your claim with their insurance company and will be hearing from an insurance rep. Regardless of how compassionate and friendly the insurance representative is on the phone, the most important thing for you to remember is that the insurance company is driven by profits and that the rep is also working that angle. The insurance company wants to take care of your claim for as little as possible, and it has many tools in its belt for doing so.
If the insurance company makes an early settlement offer, it is very likely a lowball offer that it hopes you will accept out of desperation (before you are fully aware of the full extent of your damages).
If that compassionate and friendly insurance rep asks you to supply a formal statement, they are hoping you’ll say something that will weaken your claim. Adjusters are well-trained at eliciting such comments. Even a simple apology (which is basically a reflex for most of us) can be used as an admission of guilt. You are not required to provide the insurance company with a formal statement, and this is a task that you should leave to your experienced car accident attorney.
An Arduous Process
The insurance company understands that you are hurt, are watching your medical bills mount, and are bringing in less income. In short, they know you are vulnerable, and they are not ashamed to take advantage of your predicament. As such, the insurance company might make the claims process as long, difficult, and complicated as it can in the hope that you will give up in frustration.
Seek the Legal Help You Need
You were injured by a drunk driver, but proving the driver’s negligence can be tricky. They are very likely doing everything within their power to demonstrate the lack of liability. The insurance company is similarly inclined. In other words, even though your case may seem straightforward, it can require considerable legal insight and experience to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. After seeking necessary medical attention, one of the most important steps you can take after being injured in a car accident that was caused by a drunk driver is consulting with a dedicated car accident attorney who will perform all of the following important legal tasks on your behalf:
- Gathering all pertinent evidence in support of your claim that the other driver was drunk and caused you to be injured as a result
- Recreating the accident and hiring expert witnesses in a targeted effort to support your claim
- Compiling your strongest claim in an effective response to whatever the insurance company may throw your way
- Guiding you competently forward through the complicated legal process ahead
- Skillfully advocating for your claim’s most beneficial resolution
Make the Call to an Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Attorney Today
There is no excuse for drunk drivers on our roads, but they are out there anyway. If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, the trusted car accident attorneys at McCravy Law have a long and impressive history of helping clients like you reach optimal case resolutions, and we’re committed to helping you, too. We’ve been proudly serving South Carolina for more than 25 years, so please don’t hesitate to call us at 864-388-9100 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you today.