What Car Accident Victims of Drunk Drivers Should Know: A Brief Guide
Car accidents are distressing events that can have life-altering consequences. When the accident involves a drunk driver, the situation becomes even more complex. As a car accident victim of a drunk driver in New York State, it's crucial to be aware of your rights and the legal steps you can take to seek financial compensation and justice. This guide aims to provide you with essential information and steps to take if you or a loved one find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
The first and most crucial step after any car accident, especially one involving a drunk driver, is to seek medical attention promptly. Even if you feel fine initially, some injuries may not manifest symptoms until later. Documenting your injuries with a medical professional is essential for both your health and any potential legal claims.
Report the Accident to the Authorities
Report the car accident to the police as soon as possible. This is particularly important when alcohol impairment is involved. Law enforcement will conduct an investigation, which may include conducting sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests, and gathering evidence from the scene.
Collecting evidence is crucial to building a strong case. This includes:
- Photographs and Videos: Take pictures and videos of the accident scene, including any damage to the vehicles, road conditions, and any visible injuries.
- Witness Information: Collect names and contact information of any witnesses who may have seen the accident. Their testimonies can be invaluable in establishing liability.
- Police Report: Obtain a copy of the police report, which will contain important information about the accident, including the officer's observations and any citations issued.
- Medical Records: Keep detailed records of all medical treatment, including doctor's notes, prescriptions, and bills related to the accident.
Understand New York State's No-Fault Insurance Law
New York operates under a “no-fault” insurance system, which means that your own insurance company will generally cover your medical expenses and certain other expenses, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. However, there are exceptions, particularly in cases involving serious injuries. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help you navigate this complex system.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
Seeking the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney is essential in cases involving drunk driving accidents. They will have the expertise to:
- Assess Your Case: An attorney will review your case, evaluate its strength, and advise you on the best course of action.
- Handle Insurance Companies: They will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
- File a Lawsuit: If necessary, they will file a lawsuit against the drunk driver to pursue further compensation for your injuries and losses.
In addition to no-fault benefits, you may be entitled to additional financial compensation for physical and emotional pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage, and other damages. An attorney will help you build a case to seek maximum compensation.
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident involving a drunk driver is a daunting experience. However, being informed and seeking professional legal assistance can significantly ease the process. Remember to prioritize your health, gather evidence, and consult with a personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one has sustained a serious injury involving a car accident and a drunk driver, an experienced personal injury attorney can help. It is important to consult with a lawyer early to investigate your options, and preserve crucial evidence. For assistance with these matters, please contact us to learn more.
About the author: Peter J. Gregory is a partner with MCCM Personal Injury Lawyers in Rochester, NY. He is a trial lawyer with extensive experience resolving disputes in state and federal trial courts. As a personal injury lawyer, Gregory focuses on advising clients who have been injured or lost loved ones in accidents caused by the carelessness or recklessness of others. Please feel free to contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (585) 512-3506.
This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.
McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979. With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.
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