If a drunk driver recently hit you in the Atlanta area, know that you’re not alone: The Georgia Department of Driver Services reported 27,726 DUI incidents in 2020 alone.
A drunk driving accident can cause considerable pain and suffering. While you can’t undo what happened, you can take steps to protect your interests going forward.
Read on to learn what to expect if a drunk driver has hit you in Atlanta. For more information, call (678) 310-2827 or complete our online form for a free case evaluation by an experienced drunk driving accident attorney from our Greathouse Trial Law, LLC team.
1. The Police Will Talk to You at the Scene of the Accident
Call 911 immediately and wait for the police. Don’t flee the scene — this is critical. When the police officers arrive, they will talk to you about the accident. Be cooperative and answer all their questions.
Everything you say will go on the police accident report, which can be valuable evidence when you file an insurance claim or a lawsuit later. You or your drunk driver accident lawyer can request a copy of the report from the police department.
2. You Should Seek Medical Attention If Hit by a Drunk Driver
Paramedics or other emergency personnel may already be on the scene. Make sure they examine you. If no healthcare workers are present, go to an urgent care facility or your regular physician without delay.
Getting an immediate checkup is crucial, even if you feel fine. Certain serious and potentially life-threatening internal injuries can be asymptomatic. A doctor can rule out hidden issues and give you the care you need.
Seeking medical attention early also helps to document the type and extent of your injuries. Be sure to request and keep copies of any medical paperwork, including:
- Emergency accident reports
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Receipts and invoices
- Lab results
You should also complete any treatments as your doctor prescribes. If you don’t seek medical attention or abandon your treatment, the insurers may argue that you have inflated or falsified your injuries.
3. The Insurance Companies Will Investigate the Accident
After your checkup, call your insurance company and inform the adjusters that you have been hit by a drunk driver. This will start the claims process.
Georgia is a comparative fault state, which means you can file a claim with your insurer, the insurer of the drunk driver, or both. You can also seek compensation even if you were partially at fault for the accident.
The insurance companies will then investigate the case. Remember that the drunk driver’s insurer may seek to undervalue your claim by shifting the blame to you or disputing the blood alcohol level (BAC) test results.
They may also try to rush you into accepting an early settlement. The offer is likely to be on the lower end of the range. If you accept it, you can’t seek additional compensation later. You would have to pay for any future treatments or expenses out of pocket.
4. The State May Bring Criminal Charges Against the Drunk Driver
Some drunk driving cases result in criminal charges against the at-fault driver.
It’s important to know that even if intoxicated drivers walk away with a conviction, this doesn’t automatically translate into restitution for accident victims.
If you want to seek compensation, you will have to file an insurance claim or a separate civil lawsuit.
5. You May Bring a Civil Lawsuit With the Help of a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
A criminal DUI conviction can serve as evidence that the other driver was drunk. However, you must prove that you suffered harm from the accident and provide evidence of all past and future injuries, financial losses, and property damage.
If the drunk driver avoided a DUI conviction, you must also establish that they were drinking before the accident. That involves finding, collecting, and preparing evidence such as:
- 911 call recordings
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Breathalyzer readings
- Toxicologist reports
- Criminal background checks
- Police body and patrol car camera recordings
Whether you pursue an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit, the rules and procedures are complicated: It takes just one mistake to compromise your claim.
Fortunately, you don’t have to face the adjusters or the court system alone. Our drunk driving accident attorneys can examine your case and insurance coverage and advise whether you can seek compensation. We can also help you file an insurance claim, a civil lawsuit, or both and support you throughout the process.
At Greathouse Trial Law, LLC, we serve clients throughout the Greater Atlanta Area out of our office in Atlanta, GA. If you were hit by a drunk driver, call us at (678) 310-2827, or complete our online form for a free case evaluation.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.