Drunk driving causes hundreds of thousands of car accidents annually. This isn't surprising since alcohol has a negative effect on both judgment and reflexes. Every day, almost 30 people die in drunk driving accidents in the United States. In Florida in 2018, 26% of all fatal crashes involved alcohol impairment, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Traffic Safety Facts. Even when drunk driving crashes don't result in death, they lead to serious injuries and other damages. If you were struck by an intoxicated driver, you should seek advice from a Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorney.

What to Do After Your Crash

Your Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer will play a major role in helping you to get compensation. However, there are also things you can do to help your case. If you are physically able, you should go to a safe spot and call 911 right away. Drunk drivers don't always stay at the scene, and it's important that the driver doesn't go on to hurt other people. When they do stay, they often plead with the other driver not to call the cops since they're likely to be arrested. 

Don't give in to any pleas or threats. Try to stay calm and report the accident, stating your name, the location of the crash, the number of vehicles involved, and whether anyone is injured. Don't engage with the other driver beyond exchanging contact details and insurance information. If the individual is belligerent or just too intoxicated to engage you, wait until the police arrive so they can witness the communication. 

While you wait, look for signs of drunk driving. Even if you don't have any special training, you may be able to detect that the driver was somehow impaired. Some of the things you should take note of are:

  • Open or empty alcohol containers
  • Slurred speech
  • Dangerous driving in the moments before the crash
  • The smell of alcohol on the driver's breath
  • Stumbling or an inability to stand 

While these signs don't always mean that the driver was drunk, you should still mention your observations to the police and your Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer. Drunk driving is a crime, and if the individual is arrested, this will help to prove that they were at fault for the accident. 

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Getting Compensation Following a Drunk Driving Accident

It won't be enough to simply show that the driver who hit you was drunk. You will also need to prove that you suffered injuries and that your injuries resulted from the accident. To do this, you must seek prompt medical attention. This protects both your health and your right to get compensation. In Florida, every car insurance type policy includes Personal Injury Protection, which covers 80% of your medical bills up to a maximum of $10,000.

To claim compensation, you must see a doctor within 14 days of the accident. However, you shouldn't wait this long to get medical attention. Not only could your health worsen in the days following the crash, but it may become more difficult to link your injuries to the crash. Even if your injuries seem too minor to require a visit to the emergency room, you should seek confirmation from your personal physician.

If you were involved in a serious accident, your injuries would be worth more than $10,000, and you may even need lifelong treatment. You won't be able to rely on PIP for compensation in such a situation. However, this doesn't mean you'll have to pay for treatment out of pocket. You may be able to sue the other driver and seek additional damages.

Accidents involving drunk drivers are often more serious than other crashes. The impaired individual may not be able to hit the brakes in time or maneuver to avoid a crash. They may also speed, swerve wildly, or drive the wrong way before the crash occurs since they can't appreciate how risky their behavior is. If a driver can't slow down or stop, the crash is more likely to result in spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries. You deserve to be compensated for such life-changing injuries.

If you suffered serious injuries in a drunk driving crash, or you're finding it difficult to get your insurance company to compensate you, you should contact an injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale. In addition to medical expenses such as the cost of doctor's visits and hospitalization, you may be entitled to payments for lost wages, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Contact VG Law Group to get an expert opinion on your case.

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