What to Do if You Were in a Car Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver in Salt Lake City
As our blog has discussed in the past, many Utah auto accidents are caused by drunk drivers, or, less frequently, drivers who are impaired by drugs or prescription medications. Hopefully, you will never be in a situation where you or a loved one is injured in a drunk driving accident; but if you are hit by an intoxicated driver, it’s helpful to know what steps you should take to give yourself the greatest chance of making a successful personal injury claim. Salt Lake City car accident lawyer Darwin Overson explains six things you should do after you’ve been hit by a drunk driver in Utah.
How Many Injury Crashes and Fatal Accidents Involve Intoxication in Utah?
As our blog post on drunk driving accidents pointed out, the Utah Department of Public Safety attributes a huge number of annual crash-related injuries and fatalities to intoxication. According to drunk driving statistics from last year, about 2,000 out of roughly 60,000 auto accidents involved intoxication: just under 3.5% of all accidents that occurred in Utah in 2015.
That’s a significant figure, especially when you consider the disproportionately high numbers of deaths and injuries that result from alcohol-related crashes. Even though only about 3.5% of Utah vehicular accidents involved intoxication in 2015, alcohol was still a factor in nearly 5% of injury crashes, and 12% of fatal crashes.
The problem is especially great in the Salt Lake City area. To quote the 2015 report, “Over the past 10 years, Salt Lake County accounted for over one-fourth (25.3%) of the fatal crashes involving drunk drivers.” There were 986 total alcohol-related crashes in Salt Lake County in 2015, significantly more than the county with the second highest number of crashes (Utah County, with 239 accidents).
These statistics show that drunk driving accidents are, unfortunately, somewhat common events, especially in Salt Lake County. If you are ever hit by an intoxicated driver, following the six steps below can help strengthen your personal injury claim and improve your odds of getting compensated for your losses.
6 Steps to Take After You Are Hit by a Drug-Impaired or Drunk Driver in Utah
The time right after a car accident is almost as chaotic and confusing as the accident itself. However, your actions during this critical time will lay the foundation for your insurance claim. It is critically important that you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after you are injured in a drunk driving accident of any kind, whether it is a motorcycle accident, a truck accident, or any other type of crash.
- Get medical help immediately. Medical care should be your top priority after being injured in an accident, for two reasons. First and foremost, you may have been seriously hurt, and need diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. For instance, you may have sustained a whiplash injury. Additionally, delays or failure to seek medical care can hinder your claim and make it more difficult to get compensated.
- Take photographs. If you are able to do so safely, take as many photographs of the accident as possible. Try to get photos from different angles. In addition to vehicle damage, photograph the area around the crash. The position of tire marks or broken glass, for example, can help investigators piece together the sequence of events. Video footage can also be very useful in addition to still images.
- Safety is always key. Do not record footage or take photographs if doing so will aggravate your injuries or place you into the path of traffic.
- Get witness information. If anyone saw the crash occur, take down their contact information so that they can be reached for a statement later.
- Contact the police. Accidents that result in death or injury must be reported to the police. The officer who responded to the crash should have prepared a police accident report, which contains information that can be used to negotiate a better settlement agreement once you have filed a claim.
- Notify your insurance company. It is essential to report any car accident you are involved in to your insurance company. Do not apologize, downplay your injuries, or suggest that you could have been at fault for the collision.
- Contact an attorney. Getting compensated can be a complex task, even when fault for an accident seems straightforward. Don’t burden yourself with insurance hassles while you are in recovery. Let an experienced attorney act on your behalf. Your attorney will gather evidence for you, educate you about your rights and legal options, and protect your financial interests at every stage of the process.
Contact a Salt Lake City Car Crash Lawyer if You Were Hurt in a Drunk Driving Accident
Drunk driving is completely preventable, yet still causes thousands of tragic deaths and terrible injuries every year on Utah’s roads and highways, like I-15. When someone causes a vehicular accident, a bicycle accident, or a pedestrian accident because they decided to drive while intoxicated, they should be held accountable for the devastation that results.
If you or one of your family members was hit by an intoxicated driver, or a driver who was under the influence of drugs like methamphetamine, marijuana, or prescription pills such as Ambien, you may be able to obtain compensation. Call the law offices of Overson Law immediately at (801) 895-3143 for a free and confidential legal consultation. Our Utah personal injury law firm serves clients throughout the state.