Driving under the influence (DUI) is a huge problem in the United States. Every single day, people who have had too much to drink get behind the wheel of a car. This causes danger to the drunk driver and all others on the road.
This highly dangerous behavior is a crime and causes many tragic accidents that could have been avoided.
What should you do if you’ve been in a car accident that was caused by a drunk driver?
- Contact the authorities
- Get medical treatment
- Collect evidence from the scene
- Get legal advice from a personal injury lawyer
Drunk Driving is a Crime
Drunk driving is a crime in all 50 states. If a driver’s blood alcohol content or concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher, he or she is considered to be driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI), or operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence (OWI).
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in 2010. Unfortunately this number is just a small portion of the 112 million adults in the United States sho self-report alcohol-impaired driving each year. (See Alcohol-related relative risk of driver fatalities and driver involvement in fatal crashes in relation to driver age and gender: an update using 1996 data.)
It is unlawful for any person who:
(a) Is under the influence of intoxicating liquor;
(b) Has a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath; or
(c) Is found by measurement within 2 hours after driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle to have a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 or more in his or her blood or breath, to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access.
If a person is operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more within 2 hours of driving this is considered a “per se” DUI. A person is considered “under the influence” if that person cannot safely drive.
A blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more means 0.08 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of the blood of a person or per 210 liters of his or her breath.
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Commercial drivers and underage drivers are held to even stricter standards. A commercial driver can get a DUI for a BAC of 0.04% or more. A driver who is under 21 years of age can get a DUI if he or she has a BAC of 0.02% or more. For more information, see NRS CHAPTER 484C – “DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR A PROHIBITED SUBSTANCE.”
Note that “being in physical control of a vehicle” is not the same as driving. You can still be ticketed with a DUI if you are behind the wheel of a car, even if you are pulled over to the side of the road!
Contact the Authorities
Since driving under the influence is against the law, if you have been in an auto accident and you suspect that the other driver was drunk, you should immediately contact the authorities.
Letting the authorities know about the incident is the first step in properly documenting the accident. It is also important to notify the police because the drunk driver is a danger to others on the road. If you fail to contact the police, that drunk driver may go on to hurt others.
When you contact the police and they respond to the scene, the responding officer will fill out a police report that has important details that will be important for any later insurance claim or personal injury claim that you may file. A police report will contain information including:
- Date and time of the DUI accident
- Location of the incident
- Description of any property damage
- Description of any bodily injuries
- Insurance information for all motorists
Remember that an accident report is required by law in Nevada if your accident is not investigated at the scene by the police.
Get Medical Treatment
Once you have contacted the authorities, you should seek medical attention for all of your injuries. It’s important to see a trained medical professional as soon as possible after your accident to assess and treat your car accident injuries.
Getting treated by a trained medical professional is important for diagnosing and treating your serious injuries before they get worse.
It’s important to see a doctor even if you think your injuries are minor. Some accident victims don’t realize how injured they are at first. In many accident cases, the injured person will feel fine at first, but be in severe pain the following day.
Seeing a doctor is also an important step in documenting your injuries for any future accident claim. Your medical records and medical bills are part of the tools that a personal injury lawyer will need to fight to get you a higher settlement amount. Be sure to save any and all documents related to your medical expenses and treatment.
Collect Evidence from the Scene
Every personal injury case involves collecting evidence to support your claim. A drunk driving case is no different. After you’ve been in an accident with a drunk driver, you should collect evidence. This includes:
- Get contact information and insurance information from all drivers.
- Get the make, model, license plate number, and vehicle identification number from all involved vehicles.
- If any of the other drivers were working at the time of the accident, get their employer’s name and contact information.
- Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
- Take photos of the accident scene and any injuries or property damage.
- Obtain a copy of the police report.
Get Legal Advice from a Personal Injury Lawyer
Once you have contacted the appropriate authorities and gotten medical treatment, it’s time to speak to a personal injury lawyer.
The drunk driver will often have his or her insurance company and a lawyer fighting to protect them. Shouldn’t you have someone looking out for you?
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The at-fault driver’s insurance company may reach out to you to try to write you a settlement check in exchange for your agreement not to sue. Do not accept a settlement offer, sign anything, cash any check or even speak to a representative from the insurance company without talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer who specializes in drunk driving accidents.
Experienced Las Vegas Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, make sure to consult with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney.
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Drunk driving accidents are serious matters. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries, damages, and pain and suffering. Working with an attorney who has experience with alcohol-related accidents is the best way to ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve.
To speak with an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer, in the Las Vegas, Nevada area contact Anthem Injury Lawyers today. Our phone number is (702) 857-6000.
We offer Free Consultations. Anything that you share with us is protected by the attorney-client relationship. Our law firm is located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley.