You need to protect your health and your right to compensation for your losses if you were injured because of a drunk driver. Also, you should make sure that law enforcement officials know about the accident and that the driver was under the influence of alcohol.
Get Medical Help Right Away
You should seek medical attention right away after getting injured by a drunk driver. Your future health and mobility could depend on prompt medical care.
You might have additional injuries that you have not yet discovered. Trauma experts at the emergency room know how to look for hidden harm like internal bleeding, which can become deadly with little warning.
How Your Medical Records Will Help Your Injury Claim
Your medical records will also be valuable evidence in your case against the drunk driver. Some of the most common things that medical records can show include:
- A link between your injuries and the crash. If you do not get prompt medical care, the drunk driver might claim that your injuries came from some other event instead of the accident.
- The severity of your injuries. Your medical records can confirm your claims about the extent of the harm you suffered. It will be hard for the defendant to deny that you broke your arm in the accident, for example, if an ambulance took you from the scene of the crash to the emergency room, where they diagnosed you with a fresh fracture of your arm.
- The treatment you had to undergo to take care of your injuries. The amount of compensation you can get will depend, in part, on what you endured because of the drunk driver. A person who has to go through multiple surgical procedures because of their injuries from the accident will likely have a higher settlement value than one who walks away with only scrapes and bruises.
- The cost of your medical treatment. We use your economic losses, including medical expenses, as one of the factors for calculating the settlement value of your injury claim.
Make sure that you tell all healthcare providers, particularly those in the emergency room, that your injuries came from an accident with a drunk driver.
Notify Law Enforcement Immediately
With every hour that passes, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of the drunk driver dissipates. If a law enforcement officer did not come to the scene of the accident, you should call 911 and report the crash. Some drunk drivers beat the criminal charges or get a less severe conviction than they should because of a delay in detaining them and testing their alcohol levels.
While the criminal case will be separate from your civil injury claim, the driver’s blood alcohol concentration can be relevant to your lawsuit. Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol is negligence that is essential for imposing liability.
Protect Your Right to Compensation
You should talk with a lawyer as soon as possible after you sustained injuries in a drunk driving accident. A lawyer can protect you from mistakes that could decrease the value of your case. For example:
- Sometimes the insurance adjuster will tempt an injured person with a settlement check within a few weeks of the wreck. You might not realize that you will have to pay all of your medical bills out of that one check. After you subtract those expenses, you might find that you were given a lowball offer and you deserve much more money.
- If you settle your injury claim before you have completed all of the medical treatment, you could experience financial hardship. Let’s say that you are in physical therapy when you settle your injury claim. After the course of treatment, your doctor says that you need surgery to correct what therapy did not restore. You will have to pay all of those bills out of your pocket if you already settled.
- The adjuster might ask you to give a recorded statement, saying that doing so is your opportunity to tell your side of the story. In reality, the adjuster can take your words out of context and “cherry-pick” sentences from the transcript of your statement to mean something you never intended. Recorded statements are for the benefit of the insurer, not the injured person.
When you hire a lawyer to help with your drunk driver injury claim, the insurance company is not allowed to contact you directly. If the insurer calls, tell them to talk to your lawyer.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Your Drunk Driver Injury Claim
Georgia law does not require you to work with a lawyer on your drunk driver injury lawsuit, but it can be a smart decision to do so. Drunk driver cases are more complex than the standard fender bender. You will have to deal with types of evidence that do not enter into typical car crash injury claims. One has two years to take legal action and recover damages, so do not delay in filing a claim.
Call S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 today to get personal attention for your injury claim.