Car accidents are often difficult and sometimes even overwhelming experiences. If the person who hits you was drinking, it can be much worse. Unfortunately, drunk drivers cause accidents throughout Austin and the rest of Texas, every day. In a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Texas was home to the highest number of drunk-driving fatalities in the country and ranked among the top five most dangerous states for driving under the influence. With DWI accidents frequently occurring in Texas, it’s important to know what steps to take if an intoxicated driver hits you.
Get Medical Treatment
The first priority after any accident, including those involving a drunk driver, should always be the health and safety of everyone involved. If there is even a chance you were injured, you should seek immediate medical attention following the accident. Often the quickest way to get medical help is to call emergency services and request an ambulance. Even if you don’t immediately feel pain after a drunk driver hits you, the adrenaline and confusion that immediately follow most car crashes can make it difficult to truly know how injured you are. In fact, some injuries can, and often do, take several hours, days, or even weeks to fully surface. Seeing a medical professional immediately after a crash is the best way to better understand the full extent of your injuries.
Report Your Suspicions to the Police
If you believe the person who caused the crash was drunk or otherwise intoxicated, you should report your suspicions to the police. In fact, when you contact emergency services to request an ambulance, you should inform the dispatcher of your suspicions. Sometimes, the Austin police department cannot respond to every accident, for obvious reasons. However, they will understandably prioritize incidents where the at-fault driver may be DWI. If the other driver is intoxicated, contacting the police may also help ensure they do not drive away from the scene, putting even more people at risk.
If you can, collecting and documenting as much information as possible from the scene of the accident can also be useful. This is another reason why requesting that a police officer respond can be so important. They are best suited to document the scene and gather the needed evidence. Even if your injuries at the time don’t seem severe, police involvement can still be critical to your claim later.
Some of the information you should try to gather includes:
- Photographs of the vehicles and the scene. It is best to take pictures from different distances and different angles. Video is also very helpful.
- The at-fault driver’s contact and insurance information (if you do not feel comfortable interacting with the driver, obtain their information from the police officer)
- Witness contact information and reports
- Photographs of any injuries sustained
- Accident report/claim number (you’ll need to ask the police officer for this information)
If you were hit by a drunk driver and have questions about what to do next, please feel free to contact Sandoval & James. Our experienced team of injury lawyers has handled many crashes involving drunk or intoxicated drivers. Consultations are completely free. For more information on what to do after being hit by a drunk driver, please see our dedicated page regarding the same.