Drunk driving can lead to extremely serious accidents. If you are the victim of a drunk driver, you may sustain severe injuries that can cause complications that last your entire life. It is obviously not a good situation to be in, but if there is a so-called “silver lining,” it is that you may be able to recover more in damages if the other driver was drunk. There is a catch, however; you have to be able to produce evidence of the other driver’s drunkenness.
This can be somewhat challenging since you do not have either the ability or the authority to test the other driver’s blood-alcohol level. However, you may be able to gather evidence that will be useful to you when dealing with the insurance company or in court.
How Drunk Driving Affects Your Claim
In some cases, though not all, you may be able to sue a drunk driver who injures you in an accident for punitive damages. These are intended to punish the other driver by making him or her pay you more than what is required to compensate you for what you’ve lost as a result of the accident. However, punitive damages are not available in every situation. It depends on the laws of your jurisdiction and also the BAC of the driver.
What You Should Do at the Scene
The most important thing to do after a collision with a driver who may be drunk is to call the police. Law enforcement officers will put everything that happened in a report that will serve as valuable evidence when you are dealing with the insurance company or when you go to court. Furthermore, the police can also administer field sobriety assessments and chemical blood testing to determine the driver’s blood-alcohol level. They will put this information in their report so that it will be available to you when you need it.
Assuming that you are not too hurt and it is safe to do so, you can also gather evidence at the scene. This may involve taking pictures and talking to witnesses. However, you can also observe the other driver to look for suspicious signs. An intoxicated driver may stumble around when moving and slur words when speaking. You may smell alcohol or marijuana when talking to him or her. A driver who has been drinking or using drugs may also attempt to hide the fact by disposing of beer cans or paraphernalia, switching seats with another vehicle occupant to disguise who was driving, or using eye drops to reduce redness due to drug use. Report any suspicious behavior to authorities.
One of our attorneys can recommend whether to file an insurance claim or proceed with a lawsuit. Schedule a consultation by contacting a lawyer, like an automobile accident law firm in Memphis, Tennessee, today.
Thank you to the experts at Patterson Bray for their insight into car accidents and personal injury law.