Mark A. Simon
Your Options After Being Injured in A Drunk Driving Accident, from Your Denver Attorney
When it comes to drunk driving - don’t do it. If you have been drinking be sure to take a ride-sharing service, have a designated driver, or make alternative ride/lodging options. If you have taken every precaution to stay safe, and are hit by a drunk driver it can be an unsettling experience. Being hit by a drunk driver can cause even more issues - such as aches, pains, and for the worst of accidents long-lasting injuries that can hinder your ability to function to your full potential. But no matter what, you do have some options. Let’s dive into your options, and what they mean for you.
No matter what, start with an insurance claim. Sometimes starting with an insurance claim with the driver who hit you might be the best place to start. Almost all states require drivers to carry a certain level of insurance, and most drivers carry more than that - including coverage for if they have hit another. By starting with the insurance claims, be sure to make it clear you have full intention of seeking complete damages and compensations. Insurance companies might be able to offer far more than you’d expect. By starting with an insurance claim you can also avoid costly court fees and an often times drawn out process.
Make sure you find out if there has been a DUI conviction associated with the car accident. If the person who hit you was also convicted of a DUI, in relation to that same accident, you definitely have a case. Insurance companies understand what a DUI could mean for someone who goes to trial. While it doesn’t look good for the insurance companies this could mean a big payout for you. Possibly more than the insurance company would pay you. Be sure to look in to this.
When looking to sue someone over a drunk driving accident, your attorney will prepare a settlement outlining what you are entitled for - including for injuries, losses, and damages. This might include:
- Personal property - such as your car or any possessions that you might have lost in the car accident
- Medical bills - including any type of therapy and physical therapy you will have to participate in post-accident
- Loss of wages or any wages you might lose in the future due to injuries related to the accident
- Any compensation from permanent disabilities, scarring, or injuries that will have life-long impact
- Payment for any mental anguish you might be feeling post-accident
- Out of pocket expenses related to the accident
- Punitive damages
Unfortunately, when you go to court the driver being drunk isn’t enough for a conviction. You have to prove the driver is at fault - it’s possible that the insurance company can fight your suit if you are unable to prove the drunk driver is at fault.
“No Fault State Laws”
Does your state have a “no fault,” state law? In 2003 Colorado changed from a “no fault,” state law, to an “at fault,” law. So if you currently live in Colorado this won’t apply to you. If you are living in an “no fault,” state, you will have to turn over all of your medical bill costs to your own insurance company to have them take care of your injury. This is less than ideal for obvious reasons, but it also means that you won’t be able to sue the person that hit you.
In the future, if you are hit by a drunk driver it’s important to do the following - it’ll help put you in the best possible situation for receiving a positive outcome.
Call the police - be ready with your insurance information, and all that you can share about what happened. If you don’t call the police you are risking a weak case, but also are allowing a drunk driver to get back behind the wheel of a car which can endanger others.
Make sure the police are documenting everything so that you can get a police report - a police report will be essential in moving forward.
Get as much information at the scene as you are able to. This includes witness statements, photographs, the personal information of the driver who hit you, as well as any information you can obtain from the police.
As soon as you are able to, seek medical treatment at the nearest hospital. Don’t wait to get the help you need, and waiting may make your case look a little strong. Also, you might not think you need help right away, but aches and pains after the crash can cause more issues than you were ready for. Never refuse medical treatment - even if you think you are okay.
Denver workers’ compensation attorney Mark A. Simon will work on the injured employee’s behalf to ensure the worker receives full benefits related to rehabilitation, wage loss, and final settlement. If you have been injured on the job, call to schedule a consultation.