Injured by a Drunk Driver in Florida? Here is What You Need to Do to Protect Your Claim
Drunk driving is one of the most avoidable types of motor vehicle accidents in the United States, if not the world. However, our Tampa Bay car accident lawyers know that drunk driving is still one of the most common causes of car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 10,000 people die each year in the United States due to drunk drivers. Right here in the sunshine state, Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) statistics reveal that approximately 7,700 people are injured each year due to drunk drivers. Of those injured, 378 victims tragically pass away and another 425 individuals are permanently incapacitated.
Here at Dumas & Sanclemente, we have built our firm around representing victims who have been seriously injured in auto accidents due to the negligence of another driver. When it comes to drunk driving, there may be no more reckless, careless, or negligent way of causing serious personal injuries to innocent people. These injuries affect not just the victims, but the entire family. If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a drunk driving accident in Tampa Bay or anywhere else in Florida, ask us how we can help you today.
Steps to Take After an Accident with a Drunk Driver
There are certain steps that you need to take to both protect your claim, but also to protect yourself and others on the roadways. These steps can help ensure that you recover the maximum amount of compensation that you may be entitled to under Florida law, while also doing your part to keep our roads safe.
Always Call Police, No Matter How Minor You Think the Crash Was
If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision with a motorist who you suspect is intoxicated, always call the police. Even if it was a minor accident and you do not think anyone was hurt, still call the police.
Not only is this creating a record of the accident to support your claim if injuries develop later, but drunk driving is illegal under Florida law and you would be summoning police to remove a dangerous driver who could potentially cause another accident after yours.
Never Negotiate or Argue With a Drunk Driver
If you suspect the other driver is intoxicated, do not try to reason with them. Just call the police and wait in your vehicle with the doors locked. Do not try to negotiate with an intoxicated driver who may try to “buy” your conscience to not call the police. Sometimes this is an effort to hide other illegal activities that could put you or others in jeopardy. This driver is already proven to be dangerous and could cause worse injuries to another person.
This also means never argue with an intoxicated driver. In fact, once the police are summoned it may even make sense to just agree with the other driver to keep him or her calm and non-violent. Do not escalate the situation any more than it already is.
Discreetly Take Photographs or Videos
Not only should you take photographs or videos of the damage to your vehicle, traffic signs or markings, injuries, and other damage, but also try to discreetly take photographs or videos of the other driver that may be intoxicated. Having visual evidence of intoxication such as slurring words or falling over can support your claim. However, if this is agitating the other driver stop immediately or keep recording with the phone in your pocket only for audio. Above all, be safe.
Get License Plate Information and Other Identifying Marks on the Vehicle
Intoxicated individuals are prone to doing erratic things, and that may mean a drunk driver will try to flee the scene. Make sure to get the license plate and any other identifying marks of the vehicle and driver to track him or her down later when the police arrive.
Get Evaluated at the Scene, and Get Transported if Recommended
Never play hero at an accident. You may feel fine, but if first responders are recommending that you go to the hospital for treatment or further evaluation, then you should go. This could not only save your life, but also helps to create a record for your claim and document your injuries related to the crash. Make sure to be detailed and explain anything that hurts, even a minor backache, side pain, or a headache. These injuries could quickly become worse over the next few days and may even require surgical intervention in the future.
Call an Experienced Tampa Bay Car Accident Lawyer
Here at Dumas & Sanclemente, we know that drunk drivers are a serious problem on our roadways. They threaten us and our families by making clearly negligent choices to drive. Even though driving while under the influence or ability impaired is illegal, far too many drivers still do it. The only thing worse than this is that insurance companies fiercely advocate to defend and protect these dangerous drivers.
We think this is wrong. If you or your family were seriously injured due to a drunk driver in Tampa Bay or anywhere else in Florida, call us for a FREE consultation to learn how we can help protect your rights to compensation under the law. We will not stop until every drunk driver is held responsible for the damages they caused to innocent people. Learn how we can help you today by dialing (844) 400-2667 to schedule your FREE case evaluation or by using our convenient and easy-to-use message box at the bottom of our contact us page available here.