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What To Do If You Were Hit By A Drunk Driver In Decatur, Georgia?

What To Do If You Were Hit By A Drunk Driver In Decatur, Georgia

Most drivers know that driving while intoxicated is unlawful and dangerous. Driving under the influence not only puts the driver and anyone they have in their car at increased risk for suffering harm in a car accident, but also poses a hazard to anyone else who happens to be near them when they are driving. No matter how many public health ad campaigns or advertisements are circulated, a certain portion of the population continues to disregard both the law and good advice, and decides to drive while intoxicated anyway. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that drunk driving crashes are completely preventable. If you were hit by a drunk driver in Decatur, Georgia and are wondering what the next steps would be if you are considering taking legal action, you may benefit from speaking with a local car accident attorney.

Alcohol’s Detrimental Effect on Drivers

There is no denying the way that alcohol in a driver’s system can impact their ability to operate their car. The higher an individual’s blood alcohol concentration, the less capable the person is of driving safely at that moment. This impairment occurs because alcohol can cause all of the following:

  • Slowed reaction time
  • Falling asleep behind the wheel
  • Inability to see clearly, blurred vision
  • Issues determining perspective and how far or close other cars and objects are
  • Impaired coordination
  • Problems with cognition and making sound decisions

4 Steps To Take After Being Hit by a Drunk Driver

Being in a car accident is usually an unpleasant and scary experience. When a driver is inebriated, the accident may be especially distressing because one can never know how they will act or respond. Therefore, if accident victims are able to get out of their vehicle, they should use extra caution in doing so and especially in approaching the driver. The following four steps may be useful to follow in the wake of an accident caused by drunk driving.

Remain at the Accident Scene and Exchange Information

Car accidents can be jarring, but it is incredibly important to stay at the scene until first responders arrive. Leaving can put accident victims at risk of suffering criminal repercussions.

A drunk driver’s behavior may be unpredictable. As soon as victims are able, write down the make and model of their vehicle and their license plate number, if possible. If the other driver attempts to flee the scene, this will allow law enforcement to find them. If the driver stays, and is coherent enough to exchange information, get their driver’s license and insurance information. 

Call 9-1-1

As with any highway accident, those involved should call 9-1-1 and have Decatur law enforcement and emergency responders, when necessary, come to the accident scene. Drivers should check to see if they, their passengers, and anyone else who may be involved in the crash is injured or needs medical attention. When drivers call 9-1-1, they can indicate the extent of injuries visible at the scene and also that there is reason to believe one of the drivers involved in the crash could be intoxicated.

When Decatur police arrive at the site of the crash, if drivers and passengers are well enough to speak they can report to law enforcement how the accident happened, and can affirm their impression that the other driver may be intoxicated. Including some of the signs that they noticed which made them come to this conclusion may assist Decatur police officers in determining how to proceed.

Stay Calm and Be Attentive to Details

The lowering of inhibitions and the slowing of cognitive processes caused by high blood alcohol concentration can lead to unpredictable behavior in people who are intoxicated. They may be hostile and aggressive; they could become emotionally reactive; they may be particularly confused. Therefore, a person can never know what to expect when dealing with someone who is under the influence. A good bet is to exercise cautions when interacting with the individual, and try to remain as calm as possible.

Try to be attentive to the details while interacting with the other driver and waiting for law enforcement to arrive. Take note of things like: 

  • Any empty bottles in the car or nearby
  • The smell of alcohol on the other driver
  • Erratic driving by the other driver before the accident
  • Slurred speech
  • Attempts to get rid of evidence (throwing away empty bottles, etc.)
  • Any other evidence of their state during the time the crash 

If possible, write all of this information down. Drivers can also try to use their phone to take video as evidence for the police. 

Seek Medical Attention Soon After a Crash

Crash victims may need medical attention immediately due to catastrophic injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol-related vehicle accidents kill an average of 32 people every day in the United States. Prompt medical treatment can be critical in preventing these fatalities. When injuries at the scene are severe, accident victims are likely to be transported to an emergency room via ambulance. If urgent medical attention is not needed and a driver does not go to the hospital to seek medical attention from the accident scene, they should not delay in setting up an appointment with a medical professional soon after the crash. A thorough examination by a doctor may be critical to an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

Seek Legal Guidance After Treatment

Georgia law allows car accident victims to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, repairing or replacing a vehicle, and damages for pain and suffering or other significant losses. State law also allows the victim to ask for punitive damages when the other driver is intoxicated. Punitive damages are a term for money the court awards to punish an at-fault party in a lawsuit. To learn how to file a personal injury claim and what legal options they may have, a drunk driving accident victim should consider speaking with a Decatur personal injury attorney. 

Speak With a Personal Injury Attorney After a Crash With a Drunk Driver

No one wants to be injured in a car accident, but crashes happen frequently throughout the United States. If you were hit by a drunk driver, then following the steps outlined above may help you get the financial compensation you need for your losses. A Decatur, Georgia personal injury attorney can meet with you and go over the details of your accident experience and help you determine the best path forward for getting the compensation you need.Contact Hall & Lampros, LLP by calling 404-876-8100 to set up an initial consultation.

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