Alcohol involvement in crashes is a major concern for Pennsylvanians, according to a Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyer. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation 2020 Crash Facts and Statistics Report shows that alcohol-related crashes accounted for over 7% of all crashes. Even more concerningly, alcohol related crashes resulted in 26% of all fatal crash injuries. This article will walk you through the steps take if you or a loved one has been injured or killed by an intoxicated driver.
Civil Court vs. Criminal Prosecution
In many cases, drunk driving is a criminal offence, and a drunk driver will be charged with a crime. Police may arrest the drunk driver, and eventually they might lose their license or be sentenced to jail time.
According to a Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyer, you may also have recourse in civil court to file a lawsuit against a drunk driver. Filing a civil lawsuit will allow you to seek compensation for your injuries and medical expenses that resulted from the car accident.
Steps to Take If You Are Injured by a Drunk Driver
A car accident can result in a flurry of activity, especially if you are seriously injured. If possible, take as many as the following steps as possible, or ask a family member or friend to assist you.
Step #1: Contact the Police
Drunk driving is a serious crime in Pennsylvania. Police intervention is often necessary to help DUI victims and to take action against drivers who are under the influence. Police typically will test the driver to obtain their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Police can also testify to physical signs of intoxications, such as if the driver is demonstrating poor balance, slurring their words, smells of alcohol, or shows other signs of being under the influence. This information can be incredibly helpful in proving your case if you take the driver to civil court with help from a Philadelphia car accident lawyer.
Step #2: Obtain Medical Care
It’s important to prioritize your injuries after a car accident. Serious injuries may require ambulance transportation for emergency treatment at a hospital. After a traumatic event, adrenaline and endorphins released by your body may partially or completely mask your injuries and prevent you from feeling the full extent of your pain. A Philadelphia car accident lawyer recommends being evaluated by a medical professional if you suspect any injuries. Injuries such as whiplash, concussions and brain injuries, and internal bleeding may not be immediately transparent, but doctors performing a full evaluation may be able to diagnose and treat them sooner. It will be important to have documentation of your injuries as evidence if you pursue a drunk driver in court.
Step #3: Collect Information
Gather information about the drunk driver that you will need to file a lawsuit or insurance claim. A Philadelphia car accident lawyer suggests collecting the following information:
- Full name of the other driver, address, phone number and email address
- Information about the other car involved in the crash, including make, model, license number, and damage from the crash
- Information about the location of the crash; include details about the road names or any details about the area such as lighting, crosswalks, etc.
- Information about the responding police and emergency responders (companies, department, badge numbers, etc)
- Observational information about the drunk driver that includes signs of intoxication or admissions of drinking or responsibility for the accident.
Step 4: Track your Recovery and Log Medical Expenses
Many drunk driving victims face a long and arduous recovery. Demonstrating how your injuries have affected your daily life can help a jury understand your journey to recovery and benefit your case, according to a Philadelphia drunk driving accident lawyer. You might want to keep a video diary or write journal entries that help prove the pain and suffering that you have endured.
Keep track of your medical expenses in an organized folder or binder. This might include hospital bills, doctor visits, or invoices from physical therapists. Some victims suffer mental health or emotional problems as the result of the accident, so keep track of any counseling bills as well.
Contact a Philadelphia Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer at the Wieand Law Firm Today
If you or a loved one was injured or killed by drunk driver, contact the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at the Wieand Law Firm, LLC. Our attorneys litigate civil lawsuits for drunk driving accidents that result in serious injuries and death. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and review your legal options. Call 215-666-7777 or send us a message via the online form to speak directly with a lawyer.