Getting hit by a drunk driver is not just scary, it’s justifiably
infuriating. The sheer level of irresponsibility that it takes to consume
alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car is staggering, especially in
this day and age. You know you deserve compensation for your injuries,
but you’re not sure what comes next or how to go about seeking payment.
Learn what to do when you’re hit by a drunk driver, what recourse
you have and how a San Jose car accident attorney can help you get compensation.
Criminal and Civil
The thing that makes drunk driving accidents unique is that they are both
criminal and civil in nature. Driving under the influence is a crime that
carries potential jail time, fines and loss of license. These fines are
not paid to you as part of your damages. To collect compensation, you’ll
need to file a civil suit.
What to Do
While you’re at the scene of the accident, first, call police and
first responders. Make sure that anyone in need of medical attention (yourself
included) gets taken care of. Everyone’s health and well-being comes
first. Keep all of your medical records handy, from prescriptions to ER
and doctor’s visits to physical therapy and more.
Collect contact information of any witnesses willing to talk about what
they saw. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver.
Take as many photos of the scene from as many angles as you can. Make
certain the police take a police report. The more records you keep, the
better off you’ll be later. Whatever you do, never sign anything
from an insurance company without speaking to an attorney.
What You Can Collect
When you’re hit by a drunk driver you can collect a variety of compensatory
damages which are generally separated into special, general and punitive
damages. Special damages cover your measurable financial losses—medical
bills, lost wages and potential future earnings, etc. General damages
are more subjective and cover lost companionship, pain and suffering and
mental anguish among others.
Punitive damages are rare and only awarded in the most egregious of circumstances.
They are designed specifically to punish the responsible driver, make
an example of them and teach them a lesson for the damage they’ve done.
The key to getting compensated in a
car accident of any kind is negligence. You need to prove that the other driver was
grossly irresponsible. In a
drunk driving accident, you’ll need to demonstrate that alcohol was involved and was a
direct or contributing factor in the accident.
San Jose Car Accident Attorney
When you’re hit by a drunk driver, your best bet is to call upon
the services of an experienced San Jose car accident attorney. An attorney
knows exactly how to prove negligence on the part of the other driver.
They know how to deal with insurance companies and tear down their payment-avoidance
tactics. They know how to stand up for you and fight for your rights every
step of the way. An attorney can make sure that you get the maximum possible
compensation to which the law entitles you.
If you live in the San Jose area and have been in a drunk driving accident,
don’t go it alone. Call upon the legal professionals at Dunnion
Law to get a
free case evaluation
and more information today.