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Drunk driving accidents cause unimaginable pain and loss every year. If you were recently a victim, there are some things you should do to protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve. Let’s consider what you should do with suggestions from your Huntsville, TX car accident lawyer.

13 Steps to Take

1. Seek Medical Attention

Your health and safety are the top priority. If you have injuries, get professional medical treatment right away. Even if you don’t feel injured, it’s still wise to see a doctor, since some injuries aren’t immediately obvious but still need attention. Prompt medical assessment also creates vital records for your case down the line, and your Huntsville, TX car accident lawyer will need them.

2. Report the Accident to Police

Call 911 immediately. Explain the situation, including your suspicion that the other driver was impaired. The police will arrive and create an official accident report. This is a crucial piece of evidence, and it may include the officer’s observations about the other driver’s condition. You’ll likely need those in your case.

3. Document the Scene

If you can safely do so, it’s helpful to gather your own evidence. Take photos of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles, any visible injuries, and the surrounding area. Try to note the weather conditions, the date and time, and the exact location of the accident. If you’re able, take photos of how the cars were positioned after the accident and any skid marks on the road.

4. Exchange Information

Ask for the other driver’s name, contact information, insurance details, license plate, and vehicle description. If there are any witnesses, get their names and contact information as well. It goes without saying that if the other driver is belligerent and out of control that you should avoid contact with them. Call the police and avoid them.

5. Don’t Do Anything to Endanger Your Case

Don’t admit fault. Even if you’re unsure of the exact circumstances, don’t say anything that might be interpreted as you taking responsibility. Also, don’t leave the scene. Unless it’s necessary for safety reasons, leaving the scene of an accident could have legal consequences. Finally, don’t minimize your injuries. Play it safe and get checked out even if you feel fine. Some injuries take time to show symptoms.

6. Hire a Huntsville, TX Car Accident Lawyer

Having the guidance of a qualified Texas personal injury attorney will be vital in maximizing your potential recovery, especially when you’re dealing with a drunk driver. There can be quite a few things in play in these cases, like an insurance company that won’t pay because the driver was drunk to the driver facing criminal charges, accusing you of being at fault for the accident, and more.

Seek an attorney with a proven track record of handling drunk driving accident cases. You should feel confident in your attorney’s ability to explain the legal process and keep you updated on your case, and remember that a law firm with resources to properly investigate and build a strong case on your behalf is key.

7. Keep Medical Records

Hold on to all medical bills, reports, and any other records related to your injuries. These documents will show the extent of your injuries and the cost of your treatment. If you require future medical care related to the accident, keep those records as well.

8. Track Lost Wages

If your injuries prevent you from working, keep a log of your missed workdays and any income lost as a result. You may be entitled to compensation for this, as well.

9. Journal Your Experience

As difficult as it may be, keeping a journal about how the accident affects your life can be helpful. Note any physical pain, emotional distress, or limitations it causes in your daily routine. This can be helpful evidence and a tool for your lawyer to fully understand the impact the accident had on you.

10. Take Action to Protect Your Rights

Texas law provides ways for victims of drunk driving accidents to seek justice and compensation, and there are different legal claims that might apply to your situation, all depending on the specific facts of your case. A qualified attorney will be able to evaluate them carefully for you. This may include claims based on negligence, where the other driver failed to take reasonable care, negligence per se, where the simple act of driving drunk shifts the burden of proof in your favor, or even dram shop liability where other parties, like the bar who served the driver, may be held responsible.

You may be entitled to compensation for a variety of losses stemming from the accident. This can include medical expenses (past, present, and future), lost wages, loss of potential future earnings, and compensation for your pain and suffering. In cases of egregious behavior, the court may award punitive damages as well.

11. Don’t Delay

It’s crucial to act quickly to preserve your full rights to compensation. Texas law has a two-year statute of limitations for filing most personal injury lawsuits, including those stemming from drunk driving accidents. Additionally, Texas follows a modified comparative fault system, meaning if you’re found partially responsible, your compensation may be reduced. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to determine levels of responsibility accurately. Evidence can be lost, witness memories fade, and the other side has more time to make a case against you.

12. Avoid Common Mistakes

It’s easy to make unintentional mistakes that could jeopardize your ability to get the full compensation you deserve. Let’s look at some things to keep in mind:

Don’t Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

The insurance company representing the drunk driver will likely contact you soon after the accident. They’ll want a recorded statement or other information, often presenting this as a standard formality. It’s best to politely decline and say that you will have your attorney contact them.

Don’t Sign Anything Without Legal Counsel

The insurance company may send you forms to sign, including medical releases or even settlement offers. Don’t sign anything without speaking with an attorney first. These documents may have unintended consequences and end up limiting your rights to pursue full damages.

Keep Track of Your Communications

If you do communicate with any insurance companies, take very careful notes. Write down the date, time, who you spoke with, and a summary of the conversation. This documentation can be helpful for your attorney if issues arise later.

Be Careful on Social Media

It’s normal to want to seek support and understanding from friends and family during a difficult time. However, insurance companies can and do monitor social media. Avoid posting about the accident, your injuries, or any updates about your case online. Even seemingly innocent comments can be misconstrued and used against you.

13. Focus on Your Health

Your number one priority should be your own physical and emotional well-being. Don’t rush your recovery or neglect doctor’s recommendations simply to get your case resolved faster. Follow your medical treatment plan, attend all scheduled appointments, and communicate any changes or concerns with your doctors. This demonstrates that you’re taking your injuries seriously and creates a strong foundation for your case.

Drunk driving accidents are senseless tragedies that cause immense pain and suffering. While nothing can undo what happened, seeking accountability for your losses can be an important part of the recovery process. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone: contact Brian Gutierrez, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer today and get a skilled Texas lawyer on your side.

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