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5 Critical Steps to Take Following a Drunk Driving Accident

Colorado attorney R. Mack Babcock and associates discuss the steps to take if you or a loved one are injured by a drunk driver

Being in a car accident can be a terrifying and painful experience. The situation becomes exponentially worse if you are the victim of an accident caused by a drunk driver. Not only do you have to deal with the pain and suffering of being in an accident, but you also have the headache of dealing with doctors and making appointments.

If you have been involved in car accident caused by a drunk driver, there are 5 critical steps (…besides enlisting the help of an auto accident attorney) to ensuring you protect your rights and ultimately receive the compensation you need. The first 3 steps apply immediately following the collision while the other 2 apply to your treatment/recovery.

    At the scene…

  1. Stop and Remain at the Scene

    The first thing to remember if you have been in an accident is once your vehicle has come to a stop, stay as calm as possible and immediately assess the situation. Do not leave the scene of a traffic accident unless staying poses a significant risk to your safety or welfare.

    After you have assessed the situation and tended to any passengers, call 911 for police and emergency medical services. If you are able, try to assist any other drivers and passengers involved in the accident.

    NOTE: Most auto insurance companies require you contact the police, and will sometimes deny claims that do not have an official report.
    If you or a passenger have any visible injuries, try to take photographs before being transported to the hospital.

  2. Take Photographs and/or Videotapes of the Damaged Vehicles, Crash Scene and Visible Injuries

    Photographs and videotapes are invaluable in a civil case as they are the best way to demonstrate the force of the collision and the trauma experienced by someone in the crash. Photos can establish conditions at the time of the crash, including:

    • Weather
    • Layout of the intersection or roadway
    • Signs or traffic control devices
    • Obstructions that affect visibility
    • Construction activities that may have contributed to the crash

    Moreover, photos may help an accident reconstruction expert testify about how or why the collision took place.

    Photos of any visible injuries are also very valuable in claim against the at-fault party. If you are able, try to get clear pictures of any injuries sustained in the collision before going to the hospital.

  3. Identify and Obtain Vital Information about Witnesses

    While the police may do this, it is also important for you to search for witnesses. Do not assume that the police officers identified all witnesses or that they list all witnesses on their report. You should ask the police if there are other witnesses not on their report. Then ask the witnesses if they know of other witnesses.

  4. In the months following the accident…

  5. Obtain and Keep Copies of Medical and Repair Costs, and Lost Wages

    In order to demonstrate economic damages, you (or your attorney) will need to gather all billing invoices and other records to document the cost of all medical care, property damage and lost wages.

    Accident victims often times forget that items like prescription drugs, orthopedic devices and medical supplies, as well as transportation for doctor's appointment, are eligible for compensation.

    It is easier to obtain documentation as you receive the medical care or otherwise incur expenses and lost time from work than it is to attempt to collect these records after the fact.

    You should also keep a notebook or diary relating to you recovery and ongoing medical care. This includes writing down information about doctor appointments, medical treatment, rehab procedures and the progress of recovery (including problems encountered). Writing this information as it comes keeps you from having to try to remember it later.

  6. Attend all Legal Hearings and Trial for the Drunk Driver

    It is extremely important to provide evidence at hearings, trials or other proceedings where the drunk driver faces prosecution. This includes being present during traffic court and/or criminal court when/if the drunk driver faces more serious charges (…like negligent homicide in some cases).

If you have been involved in an automobile accident caused by a drunk driver, do not delay. Due to statute of limitations and other legal technicalities, delaying too long can put your claim at risk, or at least reduce your compensation.
 
Please schedule a free consultation with a DUI accident attorney at Denver's Babcock Law Firm to discuss your case and assess your options.

In addition, you can also browse our blog and knowledge center to learn more, or download our comprehensive (PDF) Colorado Car Accident Guide for an all-in-one guide about car collisions, proving fault, obtaining compensation and much more.

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