It’s no secret that Alabama has a drunk driving problem. Millions of alcohol-impaired drivers get behind the wheel and put the lives of other drivers at risk every year. In fact, from 2009 to 2018, 2,608 people died in car accidents with alcohol-impaired drivers in Alabama.
Getting into a car accident is always a scary experience, but an accident involving a drunk driver can be even scarier and cause greater injury and property damage than one with a sober driver. Have you been involved in an accident with a drunk driver? What do you do when the driver who caused your accident is slurring their words, stumbling and smelling of booze?
Steps to Take When Investigating a DUI Crash
If you were injured by a drunk driver in Alabama, take these steps to investigate the DUI crash and protect your rights.
At the scene of the accident:
- Call 911 immediately to summon police and an ambulance to the scene.
- Get medical attention, if needed.
- Find a safe place to wait for the police.
- Collect all the evidence you can.
After the accident:
- Plan to see a doctor even if you did not need urgent medical care at the scene of the accident.
- Hire an experienced personal injury attorney.
- Avoid making statements to the other driver or the insurance company without your attorney.
- Avoid posting on social media.
Helpful Evidence in a DUI Crash
The evidence that you can use after a drunk driving accident is unique because there is a criminal element behind the cause of the accident. The driver who caused the accident was committing the crime of driving under the influence (DUI) and was likely arrested and charged with a DUI at the scene of the accident. The evidence listed below can be helpful to establish liability in your personal injury claim:
- Police report: The police officers who respond to a crash often create traffic crash reports which contain information that can be used in support of a claim. The reports may contain information that you might have forgotten yourself. Plus, crash reports will sometimes indicate who the police officer believes was the party responsible for causing the crash.
- BAC test result: When a police officer suspects that a driver who was in a crash is intoxicated, they may instruct the driver to take a field sobriety test. If an arrest is made, the driver will also likely take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test when taken to the station. The results of that BAC test will show the intoxication of that driver to a scientifically accurate degree. Using the BAC result in your personal injury claim can better establish that the at-fault driver was certainly under the influence and should be found liable for your damages.
- Background report on the drunk driver: A background check may reveal that the driver has a tendency to drink and drive recklessly, which could further support your claim.
- Courtroom evidence: There might be other forms of evidence used in the criminal trial against the drunk driver that could become beneficial, such as eyewitness testimonies.
- Conviction: The fact that the defendant was convicted in a criminal court can also be highly convincing in a personal injury claim. If a judge is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was intoxicated, then it would make sense to expect a civil court judge or jury to reach the same conclusion.
Have you been injured by a drunk driver? You have a right to compensation.
While money may not be able to bring back a loved one killed by a drunk driver or even help you fully recover from your injuries, it can help you afford the expenses caused by the accident and regain some sense of normalcy. If you are injured by a drunk driver in Alabama, you may have a claim for damages against:
- The drunk driver
- The bar, restaurant, or host that provided alcohol to the driver
- The drunk driver’s employer, if the driver was on the job at the time of the accident
Plus, you may even have a claim for “punitive” damages, which are designed to punish the responsible party. Gathering evidence and hiring an experienced personal injury attorney are crucial steps to getting the maximum compensation for your personal injury claim.
Contact Mark Petro of Petro Accident & Injury Attorneys for a free consultation about investigating a DUI crash in Alabama
Don’t go at it alone! Investigating a DUI crash and filing a personal injury claim can quickly become complicated and overwhelming. Mark Petro has built a reputation of being the go-to guy to get personal injury claims handled in a manner that maximizes the amount of recovery so that you get what you deserve sooner rather than later. Be smart, call Mark for a free consultation about your case. Let us fight for you!