Driving accidents involving drivers who are under the influence are all too common. If you find yourself involved in a driving under the influence (DUI) accident, there are a few steps you should follow in the aftermath. Doing so will help ensure your safety and success should you go to court.
What is a DUI?
Depending on your state, you might have laws for DWIs and DUIs. DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated” and typically pertains to alcohol, while DUI stands for driving under the influence and applies to both drugs and alcohol. If you’ve been in a DUI accident and need a lawyer, TheHawkFirm.com is an excellent place to start.
What to do in the event of an accident?
If you find yourself in a DUI accident, you should follow a few steps afterward, especially if you’re the offending party.
1. Keep calm and stay safe
First and foremost, keep calm and make sure you’re safe. If you were injured, the safest thing to do is wait in your vehicle. Moving could cause further damage or injury. However, if you’re unhurt, ensure your car is off the road to avoid another crash.
Pull off at the nearest safe location if staying at the immediate scene is unsafe. On the other hand, if you can’t move your vehicle to a safer spot, put out flares or alert law enforcement that your car is blocking traffic.
2. Contact the police
Next, you need to contact law enforcement. This step is crucial in the aftermath of a drunk driving accident. Unfortunately, if the other driver is the one who was intoxicated, they might try to dissuade you from calling. Don’t let them, as you’ll need to wait for the police to arrive for a few reasons.
First, you’ll need a police report for insurance and litigation purposes. Second, officers can help ensure an accident scene stays safe from other drivers. Third, all drivers will need a copy of the police report for insurance purposes.
Don’t Admit Fault
When speaking to law enforcement or others involved in the crash, never admit fault or apologize, regardless of whether you were drinking or at fault. Even if the other driver was intoxicated, if you acknowledge responsibility in any way, you could run into trouble when filing your insurance claim.
Your best bet is limiting interactions with the other driver or passengers. It’s acceptable to ensure they’re safe, but the more you speak with others involved, the more chances you have to let slip an “I’m sorry” accidentally.
3. Take pictures or video
If you can move around, take as many photos or videos of the scene and vehicle damage as possible. Photographs will provide a visual record of the scene when law enforcement arrives and supplement your verbal or written reports.
Photos will give greater detail than written reports, which will be vital if your case goes to court. In addition, your insurance company might want to see photos of the scene to support any pictures they take when they assess your vehicle’s damage. In the event the other driver flees the scene, images will provide evidence of their involvement.
4. Keep detailed records
Finally, always keep detailed records. Maintain a copy of every receipt, repair bill, and medical bill in case your case turns into a civil suit. In addition, you’ll want a comprehensive list of witnesses. Written records will make it easier to defend yourself in court and will be valuable evidence if you have to sue the other driver.
Insurance companies will also want copies of your medical records, especially if you need reimbursements. Whether your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance is covering your medical costs, having detailed records will ensure you get paid.
Driving under the influence is a severe offense that poses a threat to other drivers. If you’re in a DUI accident, it’s vital you follow the steps outlined here. Then, contact a lawyer who can help walk you through your case. Lawsuits involving drunk drivers can get messy, so you’ll want a professional at your side to help you achieve a favorable outcome.