4 Steps After Being Hit by a Drunk Driver
Being in a car accident is traumatic. Out of nowhere someone hit you and damaged your property, possibly caused an injury to your or your passengers. When you suspect that person was drinking and driving, that takes things to a whole new level. You’re not just dealing with pain and worry. There’s anger because the whole thing could have been prevented. At Monsour Law Firm, we work with Longview, Tyler, Shreveport and other area residents to help during a difficult and uncertain time. If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, here’s what to do next.
Dial 9-1-1 After Drunk Driving Accident
It’s always a good idea to call the police when there’s a car accident, but especially if you suspect you’ve been hit by a drunk driver. If you can, make sure you and anyone with you are out of the way of traffic, then assess for injuries.
Normally after a car accident, the drivers exchange information. This could be complicated if the person who hit you is drunk. Be careful what you say and take note of what you observe. If they show signs of impairment, record them for yourself and share your suspicions with the police. They’ll take it from there.
Signs the Person Who Hit You Was Impaired
TxDOT says a person can be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated with a .08 blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC). They also note a person is intoxicated if they’re impaired due to alcohol or drugs no matter what their BAC. Police look at a list of over 100 visual cues for spotting intoxication compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We’ll cover those cues in greater depth in a later article, but these are some of the most common and noticeable:
- Problems staying in one’s own lane
- Trouble maintaining speed or braking
- Failure to notice surroundings or driving conditions
- Inability to judge turns and object proximity
- Odor of alcohol or open containers in the vehicle
- Slurred speech
- A need to have information repeated
- Impaired motor skills like fumbling with paperwork or having trouble getting out of the vehicle that isn’t related to injury
Answer Police Questions
Talk to the police as soon as possible to relay details while they’re fresh in your mind. If you’ve had a severe injury, EMS will take you for medical attention. In other cases, you should be able to talk to law enforcement while you’re still at the scene of the accident.
You could very well be extremely rattled by what just happened. Try to remember that and stick to the facts when you talk. If someone asks whether or not you were hurt, it’s best to answer that you’re not sure. Immediately after being hit by a drunk driver, there’s so much adrenaline in your system it’s difficult to make an objective evaluation.
Follow These Do’s and Don’ts
When you evaluate your car and exchange information, there are best practices whether the person was drinking and driving or not. We made a list in our article Immediately After a Car Wreck – First Steps.
If you were hit by a drunk driver, that person may be arrested. You might not be able to obtain any information at all, but you’ll be able to get it later. Gather evidence of your own if you are able. Take pictures of both vehicles. Back up and take several photos of the scene from different positions and angles. Then, write notes about what happened, what you observed, your impressions before, during and after the wreck and anything else you can remember.
Don’t post on social media about your accident. It’s tempting to let other people know what happened, but that comment or photo you post could complicate things later.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were hit by a drunk driver, talk to an attorney as soon as you’re able. At Monsour Law Firm, we’ve seen lives ruined or tragically lost because someone made a foolish decision to drink, then get behind the wheel. We have a special passion for seeing victims receive compensation after that type of accident. Schedule a free consultation and let’s talk about your case today.