First Steps After Being Hit by a Drunk Driver in Pennsylvania
If you are fortunate enough to survive a drunk driving accident, you may be suffering serious injuries that can place your life on hold and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat. In many cases, the drunk driver will be arrested and charged with a crime. However, Pennsylvania’s legal system, like most states, allows you to also file a civil lawsuit against the driver that injured you to seek compensation for your medical expenses. When dealing with police and the criminal justice system, keep this in mind, and consider these important steps after an accident. If you were in a drunk driving accident, consider taking your case to the Philadelphia drunk driving victims’ attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm.
DUI Victims Checklist
The events after being in a car accident can be confusing. If you have serious injuries, you may not be able to move freely or perform many of these tasks, but sometimes a friend or family member can help you. In many cases, police have a lot of the information you’ll need, and can provide it later. However, after a drunk driving accident, be sure to perform as many of the following tasks as you can:
Call the Police
Drunk driving is a serious criminal offense in Pennsylvania, and those who are charged with DUIs often lose their license to prevent further accidents. In addition, police are an incredible help for DUI victims. Police will generally arrest drunk drivers and test their blood or breath to obtain the driver’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration). Police can also testify to the driver’s poor driving, slurred speech, poor balance, bloodshot eyes, odor of alcohol, and other signs of intoxication. This information, and a DUI conviction, can later help you prove your case against them in civil court.
Seek Medical Care
If your injuries are severe, you may have no choice but to go to the hospital and seek emergency treatment. If you are given the option of seeking treatment, always have a medical professional check you. You may have serious injuries that are not immediately obvious while adrenaline is pumping after a crash. Whiplash, bruising, internal bleeding, and traumatic brain injuries may take a while to show, but doctors may be able to find and treat them sooner. Plus, evidence of your injuries can help prove your case in court.
If you are involved in a car accident, you will need to give information to the other drivers involved. If you were the victim, you will certainly need the at-fault, drunk driver’s information to take them to court or file with insurance. This means collecting information about:
- The other drivers (name, address, contact info, etc.)
- The other cars (make, model, license plate number, damage received, etc.)
- The location (street or highway names, mile markers, locations of lighting, etc.)
- The responding police (names, department names, badge numbers, contact info, etc.)
- The driver’s drunkenness (anything you can observe, any admissions he/she makes, etc.)
- Where the driver was coming from and going to.
Track your Recovery
Much of an injury lawsuit is based on the pain and suffering you face from the injuries. This means proving how the injury affected you personally, the toll it took on your life, and your day-to-day discomfort is important. Keeping a journal (written, audio, or video) of your recovery can help prove to a jury what you’ve been going through.
Talk to a Philadelphia Accident Attorney
Before filing with insurance or trying to go to court, take your case to an attorney. Our lawyers can help guide you through the filing process, and help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver – Can I Sue?
Pennsylvania law not only allows you to sue the drunk driver who hit you, but may also allow you to sue other parties for a DUI case. Any time you are injured by another person’s actions, you may be able to sue them for intentional harm or for negligence. In a negligence suit, you must prove that the defendant who harmed you failed to use the proper care in doing some action, and that that failure caused your injuries. Breaking the law by driving drunk is clear negligence courts may be able to use to get you compensation.
In addition, if the driver was overserved at a bar, or a beer distributor or liquor store sold him alcohol while he was already drunk, they could be held partly responsible for the accident. Because these places may be able to afford the damages for your injuries, you may want to consider suing them as well as the driver.
Philadelphia DUI Victim Lawyers
If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, or lost a loved one to a drunk driver, contact the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm. Our attorneys handle lawsuits for serious, traumatic injuries and death, and may be able to take your case. For your free consultation, call our lawyers today at (215) 246-9000.