Remember that whatever you say may be used against you in any legal case, so be very careful of your statements.
Getting into a car accident is an unfortunate experience for anyone. It is perfectly natural for you to be overwhelmed with emotions, especially if your loved ones are involved. If you happened to be the one driving under the influence, the process of settling your case during the pandemic may be different from before. On the other hand, if you are on the receiving end of this distressing event, here are some crucial steps for you to take following a drunk driving car accident.
Remain calm and assess the situation
While it is tempting to let your emotions get the best of you, you must remain calm and try to keep your emotions in check. Avoid instigating an argument with the other party and as much as possible limit any interactions. It is easy to assume that the drunk driver is at fault but to make sure your legal case is as lean as possible, do not engage in any unnecessary conversation. Try to maintain a certain degree of level-headedness and be conscious of your actions.
Call 911 and the police immediately and check yourself and others for injuries. You might not have any visible injuries right after the incident, but there is a possibility that they will manifest later on, so make sure to be aware of the possible symptoms. Those seriously injured should remain inside the vehicle and do not attempt to move them as it could cause more harm. Relay any discomfort or any bruises you may have to the paramedics or first responders, however minor or irrelevant it might be, as refusal to get medical attention could hurt your future legal case.
Move your vehicle to a safer area to avoid secondary accidents unless advised otherwise by the authorities. Make sure to shut off the ignition, turn on your hazard lights, and utilize any available safety measures to make your car visible to other passing vehicles.
Secure all the evidence available
You must document everything, as any evidence taken on the accident scene will prove to be indispensable to your case. Take photos or videos of the crash scene, including the drunk driver’s plate number, the current state of the damaged vehicles, and any incriminating details such as empty beer cans or liquor bottles. You can also record the driver’s present condition, as they might show signs of intoxication.
Check the area for possible witnesses and surveillance cameras. Get the contact information of the witnesses and remember to exchange necessary information with the other party. Secure a copy of the official police report and make sure to cooperate with the responding police officers. As difficult as it may be, try to be courteous when conversing with everyone present at the scene. Obtain all necessary financial documents that will highlight the amount that needs to be compensated.
Know your rights and seek a professional
Remember that whatever you say may be used against you in any legal case, so be very careful of your statements. If this is your first time getting involved in a car accident, you might get intimidated by the other party, so it is essential that you stand your ground and remember that you are entitled to your rights. Before signing any settlement documents, make sure you read them thoroughly, and make sure there are no gray areas.
It is also vital that you seek legal counsel or personal injury lawyers to assist you with your case, preferably someone who is well-experienced with drunk driving cases. The driver’s insurance company might contact you, so make sure to inform them to get in touch with your lawyer instead.
It is difficult to frame your mind in a calm state in any car accident, as emotions can run high. Nonetheless, it is best to handle the situation with a diplomatic approach, regardless of how upsetting it might be.