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What should I do if I was hit by a drunk driver?

Despite the increased prevalence of public awareness campaigns conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, drunk driving accidents are still a common occurrence in the United States. In fact, according to the most current statistics available, 28 people die every day in our country in an alcohol-related crash. Many more suffer serious or catastrophic injuries because of someone else's reckless decision.

Sadly, the decision to drink and drive is always a choice drivers can choose not to make. Because some drivers don't always make the right decision, however, other drivers need to make sure they are prepared for tragic consequences: the aftermath of a serious car accident.

Assess your injuries and get medical attention

The first thing anyone should do after being hit by a drunk driver is to assess your injuries and to seek medical attention. Be mindful of the fact that not all serious injuries present symptoms right away. Whiplash and other conditions can take weeks before presenting symptoms. You should get treated for all of your injuries so you can receive adequate compensation.

Talk to the insurance company and understand liability

Talking to an insurer may be the last thing on your mind after a crash, but it's perhaps one of the most important things you should do. Getting a better understanding of your policy and the role of liability in drunk-driving cases will help you understand how much compensation you can expect.

Be prepared to speak to an attorney and file a lawsuit

Some drunk-driving cases can be resolved outside of the courtroom through settlements with the insurance company. However, when insurers make lowball offers that don't adequately cover all of your expenses, it may be necessary to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Filing a civil lawsuit requires you to understand your rights and the legal process, which is why getting guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney can make a difference in these types of cases.

Be prepared to wait for criminal and civil processes

Because driving while intoxicated is a crime in every state, victims of drunk-driving accidents may need to wait for criminal proceedings to reach completion before getting a court response on their civil case. Waiting for compensation can be frustrating, but it can be a necessary part of the process everyone should be prepared for.

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