Getting hit by a drunk driver is a traumatic event. It is important that steps are followed to make sure you don’t end up in an even worse situation. After any kind of accident, it’s extremely important to get a police report. Some people feel bad asking for a report or don’t want to wait around for the police to get to the scene, but most of the time that will end up hurting their case. Without a report, it’s all too easy for the other person to lie and say they were never involved in the accident or to downplay what actually happened. You need documentation to formalize what happened, and a police report is the most credible and reliable evidence you can get before you even leave the scene.
The major difference between being hit by a drunk driver and being simply hit by a negligent driver is that the insurance company will now be on the hook for more than just damages to compensate you for your injuries. The heightened damages that an insurance company will pay in a drunk driving incident are called punitive damages. It’s against the law to drive drunk, and it’s a lot more likely for you to hit somebody when you’re driving drunk. Punitive damages are put in place to literally punish the driver for injuring somebody when they were drinking and driving.
A lot of people don’t know this about punitive damages and make the mistake of settling only for compensatory damages—their medical bills and maybe their pain and suffering. They don’t push to punish the drunk driver.
Let’s look at a real-life example. I had a client that was injured when he was hit by a drunk driver, but his medical bills only came out to about $1,500. After thoroughly investigating and gathering all the facts, we found out that this drunk driver had a long history of driving drunk, amongst other crimes. After a long back and forth with the insurance company, we were able to recover $25,000 for my client, despite his relatively low amount of medical bills.
If you were injured by a drunk driver in an accident, it is also very important to find out where the driver was coming from when they struck and injured you. If we find out that they were coming from a business, the business can sometimes be on the hook for your injuries, which can be a needy source of recovery if you are seriously injured in the accident.
If the drunk driver doesn’t have insurance, we get put into a bad situation. We first look to see if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in place. If you don’t, we try to determine where the drunk driver came from. Do we have video of where they came from? They were probably already drunk when they left that place of business.
(Never leave the scene of an accident, by the way; doing so could put you in a much worse situation than you were already in.)
If you’re hit by another car, do your best to get a picture of the license plate of the car. A lot of people don’t think to look until it’s too late—the other car has already taken off. If you can’t get a license plate number, try to see what type of car it was that hit you. What was the color? What was the make and model?
The next step would be to call the cops. While you’re waiting, if you’re able, look around for any nearby businesses that might have a surveillance camera pointed at the street. That surveillance footage can come in handy during our investigation. We had a case where we visited the business at the place of the accident to see if we could get the license plate of the car, but we even got to see the accident.
If the other driver takes off, it’s worth it to go through these steps to make sure they pay for what they’ve done. Never put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation by chasing after the other driver, though. My client who tried that had a gun pulled on him. You could also risk getting into another accident. It’s not worth the risk.
For more information on Getting Hit by a Drunk Driver in Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling today.