What to Do If You’re Hit by a Drunk Driver

DUI in Nevada

According to statistics from the state DOT, there were nearly 3000 alcohol-related car accidents in Nevada in 2010. While that number is lower than in years prior, it still represents a significant financial and emotional burden for victims and their families.

What’s worse, the consequences of drunk driving accidents tend to be more severe than others. Of the approximately 250 fatal crashes that occur in Nevada each year, alcohol is a factor in between 27-37%. Serious drinking and driving accidents almost always involve criminal charges. While criminal courts determine guilt and assign an appropriate punishment as per state laws, filing a lawsuit (usually with the help of a Las Vegas DUI attorney) in civil court allows victims to get compensation for the damages they have incurred.

That’s where Dallas Horton & Associates comes in. We help those who have suffered as a result of a drunk driver recoup medical bills, lost wages, pain & suffering, and other losses commonly associated with a long recovery from an accident. About one-third of the car accidents in Las Vegas involve drunk drivers. Although all drivers are told about the importance of driving sober, some motorists take enormous risk with their own and others’ safety by choosing to drive under the influence.

If you’re in a car accident and notice the other driver may have been drinking, it’s natural to feel angry. After all, DUI accidents are preventable and are an extreme example of negligence. Deciding what to do if you’re hit by a drunk driver, however, can be daunting.

What to Do If You’re in an Accident With a Drunk Driver:

If you’re in a car accident and think the other driver may be under the influence, there are several things you can do:

1) Contact the police

Drunk driving is a crime, and you want the police to get a record of the offense. The police will also generally want to gather evidence for charges against the driver. It’s important to contact police at once if you suspect drunk driving — you don’t want the other driver to get away and potentially harm others. Alcohol only stays in the system for a number of hours, too, so you want to contact police promptly to get accurate blood, breath or alcohol testing to prove the other driver was drinking.

2) Get medical help

Get a full medical evaluation as soon as possible, and if you’re seriously injured, call 911. Medical attention can save your life if you’re seriously hurt. Even less severe injuries need prompt treatment if you want to avoid complications. Seeking a medical professional can also secure evidence of your injuries. That way, if you pursue legal action for a personal injury claim, you will have plenty of proof.

3) Gather evidence

Take photos at the scene of the accident and get a copy of the police report — including police findings about blood alcohol levels. Get contact and insurance information for the driver as well as contact information of any witnesses. Keep copies of medical reports and photos of any injuries. The more information you have, the stronger a case your attorney may be able to build for you.

4) Contact a personal injury attorney

The insurance company for the other driver will want to minimize the amount they pay you, and you need an attorney to offer advice and representation if you want to pursue the full amount you may be eligible for. If the other driver was uninsured or under-insured, an auto injury attorney can negotiate with your own insurance company so you get compensation to pay for property damage, medical bills and the other expenses you may be worrying about after your collision.

A Drunk Driver Hit My Car. Can I Sue?

If you have been injured in a drunk driver car accident or have suffered injuries or property damage because of a drunk driver, you may have a claim. A drunk driver may face criminal charges because of their actions, but you may also be able to pursue them in civil court.

To find out whether you qualify, contact Dallas Horton & Associates. One of the personal injury attorneys at our law firm will discuss your potential case with you so you know exactly what you need to do next to protect yourself. If you work with Dallas Horton & Associates, we will handle the details of your claim, leaving you free to spend time with your family and to spend time recovering from your injuries.

Filing a Lawsuit: What’s Involved

Drunk driving accident lawsuits are typically filed against the responsible driver and/or their insurance company. While other types of accidents can be subject to arbitration — in which a judge orders the matter to be settled out of court — drunk driving accidents can be exempted from this on public policy grounds.

This often means the victim can receive a higher settlement than they would get in negotiation. Avoiding arbitration isn’t the right choice for every case, but when strong evidence — such as the results of BAC testing from a criminal trial — is available, it can be key to maximizing your reward.

At Dallas Horton & Associates, the decision to pursue an exemption from arbitration is made on a case-by-case basis. During your initial consultation with our drunk driving accident attorneys, we’ll review the facts of your case and give you an honest assessment of your options. We won’t force you into pursuing a strategy you’re not comfortable with, but we will ensure you have the information necessary to make an educated decision.

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