What Are My Rights If I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver?

Drunk Driver

Accidents are inevitable when you are on the road. No matter how cautiously you drive, you can’t expect the same duty of care from other drivers. According to the research, 3 out of 10 accident cases are triggered by driving under intoxication.

Drinking and driving is considered illegal in all states. While even a small quantity of alcohol can hinder driving skills, when a driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) reaches 0.08 or higher, it increases the odds of getting into an accident. It’s a predetermined legal limit in most states. Unfortunately, if you find yourself in such a scenario, recognizing your rights and steps to take is vital to protect yourself from the challenging accident’s aftermath. Read this blog guide to gain insights into how to handle being injured by a drunk driver.

Understanding Your Rights

First and foremost, acquaint yourself with your rights if you’ve been hit by a drunk driver. It may help you handle the situation appropriately and within legal constraints. Here, we have enlisted a few approaches to resolve your case with a drunk driver:

  • Right to Compensation

    Driving while intoxicated is a criminal offense. If the driver who caused your injuries is found guilty of driving under the influence, you have the right to seek victim restitution. This compensation can help you cover a wide range of expenditures, including hefty medical bills, car repairs, lost pay due to missed work, pain and anguish, and other losses. It can be accomplished through out-of-court settlement, eliminating the need to go to court.

  • Right to Legal Representation

    You can consult an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in Sacramento specializing in alcohol-related crash cases. They will help you decide whether to settle or sue after a drunk driving accident.

  • Right to File a Lawsuit

    Besides acquiring compensation through insurance claims, you can sue the drunk driver who caused the accident. The lawsuit is necessary if the insurance company refuses to give a reasonable settlement out of court or if the damages exceed the policy constraints. For this, you must demonstrate that the sustained injuries are incurred from the at-fault party’s action.

File a Claim with Your Private Insurer

Your insurance provider might be able to cover the costs in the event of getting hit by a drunk driver. Seeking reparation from your insurer could be ideal under the circumstances outlined below:

  • If you were partially at fault for the accident

    While it’s against the law to drive under the influence, it doesn’t necessarily imply that the drunk driver is at fault for every accident. If you’re responsible for the accident and the other driver happens to be intoxicated, an alcohol-impaired driver isn’t automatically at fault for an accident.

    Hence, if you’re partially or fully at fault for the accident, seeking compensation from your private insurance company can be the best option. Coverages like Medpay (medical payments) or PIP (personal injury protection) typically cover your damages and medical expenses, regardless of whether or not you’re at fault. However, it’s vital to evaluate what coverage your insurance company offers.

  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage

    If you’re harmed by a drunk driver who doesn’t have insurance or has insufficient coverage, your auto insurance policy covering uninsured motorists can provide significant protection. In such instances, your insurance company could pay for your injuries up to the limits of your insured or underinsured motorist policy. This coverage guarantees that you don’t face financial crises owing to the other driver’s lack of insurance or inadequate coverage.

  • If you Reside in a No-fault State and Sustain Minor Injuries

    Drivers are obligated to carry PIP coverage in their auto insurance policy in a “no-fault” state. If you live in a no-fault state and your injuries are minimal, you can count on your insurance company to seek indemnification through your PIP policy, regardless of who was to blame in the collision. PIP coverage often covers medical expenses, lost earnings, and other associated expenditures up to the policy’s limitations.

Steps to Take After Getting Hit by a Drunk Driver

Wondering what to do if a drunk driver hit me. Consider the following vital steps to protect your rights and reinforce your case:

  • Seek Medical Attention

    Prioritize your health and safety. Even if you don’t feel you’ve been gravely harmed, you must get medical assistance ASAP following the accident. Injuries like internal bleeding or whiplash may not be instantly visible but might develop over time if not addressed.

  • Call 911

    Inform the police to report the collision, especially if you believe the other motorist was impaired. Police will investigate, document the incident, and establish if the motorist was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • Gather Evidence

    Evidence can contribute substantially to strengthening your case’s outcome. Hence, collecting as much evidence as possible is pertinent. It might entail taking photographs of the car damage, gathering contact information from witnesses, and obtaining a copy of the police report.

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  • Avoid Making Statements

    Be vigilant while conversing with other motorist or their insurance company. Refrain from confessing wrongdoing or making remarks that may be used against you later. Instead, have your trusted auto accident attorney in Sacramento communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.

  • Consult with an Attorney

    Schedule an appointment as soon as possible with a reliable personal injury attorney with experience handling drunk driving cases. They can offer essential legal advice, evaluate the strength of your case, and direct you through the subsequent stages.

How an Auto Accident Attorney Can Help

Navigating the legal system after being hit by a drunk driver can be distressing and daunting! An experienced auto accident attorney can be your invaluable ally and provide comprehensive assistance by:

  • Investigating the Accident

    Your attorney will begin a painstaking investigation into the instances surrounding the accident, encompassing gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and, if required, consulting with accident reconstruction specialists.

  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies

    When you entrust your case to a trusted accident lawyer, they will oversee all the communications with the insurance companies. It may include negotiating a reasonable compensation on your behalf, ensuring you obtain the maximum compensation under the law.

  • Representing You in Court

    If a fair and reasonable settlement can’t be achieved through discussions, your attorney will prepare to take your case to court and advocate for your rights to let the court decide the outcome.

  • Providing Support and Guidance

    Throughout the legal process, your attorney will provide you with support, guidance, and regular updates on the status of your case. They will answer any questions you may have and ensure that you understand your rights and options every step of the way.

Final Thoughts

Getting hit by a drunk driver accompanies devastating consequences. But you aren’t alone in this trying journey! You have rights, and you’re entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. With the comprehensive assistance of a trusted accident lawyer, you may safeguard your rights, pursue justice, and focus on your rehabilitation.