What do I do at the scene when the other driver is drunk?
You were just in a wreck and the other driver appears to be drunk. What should you do? Follow these steps, read our free information on car wrecks, and give us a call so we can answer any other questions you may have. If you believe the other driver is drunk, you should stay in your car as best you can. The first thing you should always do at the scene of a wreck is make sure that everyone is okay. Then, if you suspect the other driver to be drunk, follow these 3 steps.
Step 1: Call The Police
As you are making sure everyone at the scene is ok, you should call the cops. Calling 911 when you are in a wreck is always important. However, it is especially crucial in cases involving drunk drivers. The police need to be there immediately. There will be an audio recording of your call to the dispatch as well as a transcript. So, make sure to speak clearly. If you are injured to the point you cannot call, please encourage someone else to call for you.
Step 2: Take Photos
After you make sure every one at the scene is ok, you should immediately take photos of the other driver's vehicle. Drunk drivers have been known to be the main folks that hit-and-run. So, make sure to take a snapshot of their license plate and of the drunk driver to provide to the police. If there are beer cans or other physical evidence around the scene, take pictures of that too.
For example, a recent drunk driving case I handled involved the drunk driver opening his door and beer cans falling to the ground. It was verified by other witnesses but my client did not take photos of this. He simply assumed the police would. When he realized the police did not take photos of the beer cans at the scene, he was angry. Prevent this happening to you and take photos.
Step 3: Take Video
The next thing you should do is take video of the other driver. Many times they act crazy to scare you, but when the cops show up they try to play it off. In order for the police and ultimately a jury to see what you experienced, take a video. Save the video and provide it to your lawyer.
Do I need a lawyer for a drunk driver case?
The insurance companies will try to settle with you immediately. They will offer you $400 the night of the wreck before you even know what the police ended up doing. They will offer you $600 the next morning before you even know how badly you are hurt. The insurance company will continue to call and harass you until you finally give in. Why?
They do not want you to file a case against their insured because you settling early and cheap will save them money. The drunk driver is never held accountable and these insurance companies go on their way catching a break. The only reason drunk driving is taken seriously now is because juries have been standing up to the insurance companies and taking them to trial. Our community was tired of being the victim of drunk drivers and being left with the damages.
Who can you recover from?
When you are hit by a drunk driver, you can recover from their insurance company. You can also recover from the passenger's insurance company if they allowed a drunk driver to drive. If they came from a bar or restaurant, you can potentially sue the bar or restaurant for over-serving a visibly intoxicated person. This is also called a dramshop case in Texas. If the other driver is uninsured you can sue your insurance company if you elected to have UM/UIM insurance. This is known as an uninsured driver. If the other driver's insurance is not enough to cover the damages, you can also sue your own insurance company if you have UM/UIM insurance. This is known as an underinsured driver.
I want to learn more. Now what?
First, I recommend for you to read my free book that has a chapter in it about how to find the best lawyer for your injury case. Second, give us a call. We offer a free consultation about your case. We will answer any questions you have about whether you have a case and need a lawyer. Finally, you need to know that hiring a trial lawyer will immediately increase the value of your personal injury or wrongful death claim when the other driver was drunk. At The Button Law Firm, we have had a lot of success handling Dallas, Midland and Houston drunk driving cases. If you want to see some of the cases we have handled, check out the section called case results. We are here for you.