Being involved in a car accident is already a traumatic experience, but when it's caused by an intoxicated driver, the situation becomes even more complex and emotionally challenging. In the state of Texas, knowing the right steps to take after such an incident is crucial for your safety, well-being, and legal rights.
Ensure Safety First
Your first priority after a car accident, regardless of the circumstances, is safety. Follow these initial steps:
Check for Injuries
Assess your own injuries and check on the well-being of other occupants in your vehicle. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately.
Move to a Safe Location
If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road or a safe location to prevent further accidents.
Turn on Hazard Lights
Activate your hazard lights to alert other drivers to the accident scene.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it's essential to seek medical attention promptly. Some injuries, like whiplash or internal trauma, may not be immediately apparent but can worsen over time. Medical documentation is also crucial for any potential legal claims.
Notify Law Enforcement
Contact local law enforcement to report the accident. When the police arrive, provide a factual and accurate account of the events leading up to the accident. If you suspect the other driver is intoxicated, communicate this to the responding officers.
Document the Accident Scene
Gathering information and documenting the accident scene is vital for potential legal proceedings. Here's what you should do:
Exchange contact and insurance information with the intoxicated driver, but avoid engaging in discussions about fault.
Use your smartphone or a camera to take pictures of the accident scene, vehicle damage, license plates, and any visible signs of the driver's intoxication (empty alcohol containers, slurred speech, etc.).
Collect Witness Information
If there are witnesses to the accident, obtain their contact information. Their statements may be valuable in future legal proceedings.
Gather Evidence of Intoxication
Establishing that the other driver was intoxicated is crucial if you plan to pursue legal action. Here's how to gather evidence:
Field Sobriety Tests
If law enforcement conducts field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer, note the results. If the driver refuses these tests, document that as well.
If witnesses observed signs of intoxication in the other driver, ask them to provide written statements detailing what they saw.
If you observed the other driver consuming alcohol or noticed empty alcohol containers in their vehicle, document this information.
Consult with a Legal Professional
After addressing immediate safety concerns and gathering evidence, it's essential to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in personal injury and car accident cases involving intoxicated drivers. An attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process, protect your rights, and pursue compensation for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Remember that seeking professional legal guidance is paramount in these situations to maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial burdens you may face.
If you were involved in an accident with a drunk driver, please contact The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC today at (713) 999-6855 to start your path toward obtaining your deserved compensation.