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I’ve Been Hit by a Drunk Driver—Now What?
Have you been in a car accident caused by a drunk driver? If so, you’re having a very bad day, and we understand completely. Our law firm has helped many clients in this same situation with lawsuits and settlements against drunk drivers, so we know what’s involved.
This can be a very scary and sometimes costly situation. There are a lot of things you might need to deal with immediately after the crash, soon after at the hospital or police station, and over the long term.
The first thing to do as you get started is remember not to panic.
At the Scene of the Accident
If the crash has just happened and you’re still at the scene, keep your cool and begin going through these steps:
- Call 911. If a drunk driver caused this crash, there are no circumstances under which you should just let it go. Make sure to tell the dispatcher or police about any injuries.
- If someone has been seriously hurt, don’t try to move him or her.
- If the vehicles can still move and you’re not hurt, get them out of the way of traffic. Turn on your hazard lights and, if you’ve got them, set up flares or other road warnings.
- Immediately collect any important information you’ll need later: license plate and registration information, names, phone numbers, and insurance information.
- Take photos—every cell phone has a camera these days, so use it. Take photos of the accident location, the vehicle positions, and all damage to the vehicles.
- Don’t sign anything. Don’t admit to anything. Don’t agree to anything. The only papers that might need your involvement at the scene might be a police report or a form for your insurance company. (It’s usually OK to sign both, if needed, but it can’t hurt to ask your attorney first.)
- Call your insurance company. It’s important to get the claim process started as quickly as possible.
These steps are important at the scene of any accident, but they become even more critical when a drunk driver is involved.
After the Dust Settles
With any crash, and especially with a drunk driving crash, the perpetrator or his or her insurance company may quickly try to settle with you. Don’t.
For one thing, the insurance company and that driver may be trying to reach a settlement fast to avoid having to pay you more later. If you were injured in the accident, the full extent of your injuries might not be known right away. By getting a settlement fast, they can make a smaller payment to you now and close the case.
If this happens, you won’t be able to get the proper amount of compensation later if your injuries turn out to be more severe. You’ll be stuck with the settlement you received.
When a drunk driver causes a crash, it’s usually far better to wait until the driver has been charged (and even better, convicted) with a DUI offense. This often gives a victim much more leverage with the insurance company.
Milwaukee Car Accident Lawyer
There’s no way you can prepare for every possible car problem (such as being hit by a drunk driver). That’s part of why we call them “accidents.” Although at least 94 percent of them are caused by driver error, they’re still unpredictable and unforeseeable when you’re the victim.
If the day comes that you’re caught in a crash, it’s important to get in touch with an experienced Milwaukee car accident attorney.
At the Law Offices of Gary S. Greenberg, our attorneys have years of experience reaching successful settlements for our clients. We provide every new client with a free consultation, so call us today at 414-271-7007 or contact us via the form at the bottom of this page to find out how we can help.