What to Do After Being Involved in a DUI Accident

In the United States, alcohol is one of the leading causes of fatalities. In fact, drinking and driving kills approximately 28 Americans a day and costs over $44 billion in damages annually.

As common as a DUI accident is, it still comes as a shock when you’re involved in an accident with someone that’s under the influence of alcohol. If you’ve recently been in an accident, you must ensure you’ve taken all the necessary steps.

Keep reading this guide to learn what you need to do after being hit by someone driving under the influence.

Call 911

Your physical and mental health takes priority over everything else. If you’re involved in a DUI wreck, it’s best to call 911 right away.

You’ll still need medical treatment even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured. This is because many injuries like whiplash and other sprains or strains don’t immediately show symptoms. You’re also running on adrenaline after an accident, so you often don’t notice injuries for a few hours.

Even if you don’t need to go to the hospital, you can have an initial evaluation on the scene and get further medical treatment later. Doing this documents any injuries, pain, or other effects you’ve suffered.

Call the Police and Give a Statement

You should also call the police to report the accident. This is especially important when the other person is driving under the influence. A police officer will need to have the other driver complete a breathalyzer and field sobriety tests to assess their alcohol level at the time of the accident.

While waiting for the police to arrive, take notes if you suspect the other driver has been drinking. 

You should make a detailed statement and tell the police officer everything that occurred during the accident. It’s essential to let them know why you believe the other driver is under the influence of alcohol. Sometimes when police first get to the scene, they don’t perform sobriety tests on the other driver immediately.

This is especially true when they have many witnesses to talk to and damages to assess.

Exchange Information

Ideally, you’ll need to get as much information as possible from the other driver. Unfortunately, when people are drunk driving, they’re not always cooperative with giving this information.

In this case, it’s best to ask the police officer for this information. You’ll need information like:

  • Driver’s full name
  • Address and phone number
  • Employer information
  • Insurance company and policy information
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate number
  • Description of the vehicle
  • Vehicle identification number

Don’t forget to get the name and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.

It’s critical to be as thorough as possible when gathering this information. Sometimes police officers overlook things and are in a rush at the scene.

Document the Car Accident Scene

After a vehicle accident, you must do everything you can to document the scene. You’ll need to take certain steps after you get the other driver’s information.

First, take pictures of both vehicles. Be sure to clearly show the position of both vehicles and close-up photos of all the damage. It’s also wise to take pictures of traffic signals, street signs, and weather conditions.

Taking a video is a good idea and allows you to document lighting and other specific conditions that lead to the crash. Include things like skid marks, road defects, construction activities, and crash debris.

This evidence can be beneficial if there is an investigation into the accident or a question about who is at fault. Often there isn’t a video camera that captures the accident. It usually takes a combination of accident evidence and witness statements to determine what actually happened.

Talk to an Attorney

DUI accidents are complex and have many civil and criminal consequences you may be unaware of.

So, what are DUI accident consequences that usually occur? First, these charges depend on the state you live in. If a DUI causes a severe injury, the driver can be charged hefty fines and must attend an alcohol program.

Some drivers can even serve prison time and lose their licenses. 

They’re also liable for injuries and property damage that result from the accident.

Proving Fault

You may think that an accident involving another driver drinking alcohol is pretty straightforward, but this isn’t always the case.

If you’re suing for damages, you’ll need to prove without a doubt that the other driver was responsible for the accident. Additionally, you need to prove that you suffered harm, pain, or financial losses because of the other driver.

Anybody driving has a duty to operate their vehicles safely, and driving while intoxicated breaches that duty. However, there are exceptions to this. For example, if you rear-end or otherwise hit an intoxicated driver, they may not be at fault for the accident.

They’ll be charged with DUI penalties but won’t be responsible for your losses and injuries.

For these reasons, having an attorney is critical to your accident case.

Losses You Can Recover

Losses you sustain from a car wreck can significantly impact your life. You can recoup some of these losses if the other person is at fault.

Your attorney can help you recover damages like:

  • Pain and suffering compensation
  • Costs to fix your car and other property
  • Money for lost wages due to injury
  • Cost of all medical bills

You must gather medical documentation and other evidence to support any medical claims. An attorney will help you obtain this evidence to get the most compensation possible.

They can also obtain more photos or surveillance footage if the other driver refuses to admit fault.

You may also be reimbursed for any court costs if the case needs to go to trial.

Taking Action After a DUI Accident

Learning what to do after a DUI accident will give you the confidence to take action immediately. 

Remember, it’s imperative to talk with an attorney about your accident case so you get the compensation you’re entitled to. Each state has different rules and fines, so you’ll need help from an attorney to understand your rights under the law. Moreover, an impaired driving charge in Winnipeg is a stark reminder of the consequences of driving under the influence reflecting the pressing need for stricter penalties and increased awareness regarding the severe effects of DUI convictions.

Be sure to check out our blog for other helpful legal tips and much more!