When a drunk driver hits you, they must stop and exchange information with you. The police must also come and conduct a field sobriety test or use a breathalyzer to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC). If their BAC is at or higher than .08, they are legally drunk and will get detained by the police.
While the police deal with the drunk driver, you can file a claim to pursue financial compensation for your damages. Our drunk driving accident lawyers will review your case and help you negotiate for a fair settlement. Do not hesitate to contact us today and learn more about all of your legal options. You can reach us at (404) 400-4000.
What Happens Before I File a Claim?
The period before you file a claim is when you gather as much information and evidence as possible regarding your accident. While the courts are typically not sympathetic or lenient towards drunk drivers, you still need to prove both during negotiations or trial that the drunk driver’s negligence caused your accident.
After making sure that you and others around you are safe and do not require immediate medical attention, you will need to:
- Call the police to report the accident.
- Exchange information with the driver if possible.
- Talk to witnesses and get their information and testimony.
- Obtain any surveillance footage is available.
- Take as many pictures as possible of your injuries, the vehicles involved, and the scene of the accident.
Try not to antagonize the drunk driver. If they are drunk, their ability to logically process their responses or actions might not be entirely present. To avoid an instance of road rage or violence, be calm and try to get them to cooperate peacefully. If the drunk driver attempts to flee the scene after an accident, do your best to remember their license plate number, vehicle model, etc.
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After Filing a Claim, What Happens Next?
When you obtain a lawyer to help you file a claim, several things happen afterward.
Assessing Your Damages
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that drunk driving costs the U.S. roughly $44 billion. Billions of dollars of damages get incurred each year due to negligent behavior like driving under the influence. You can receive compensation for these damages through the insurance of the at-fault party. Damages you can seek compensation for include:
- Lost wages and reduced earning capability
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Medical expenses
- Property damages
Both your economic and non-economic damages will get evaluated. Our lawyers will accurately assess every one of your expenses, bills, as well as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, etc. We will ensure that every damage gets accounted for and nothing gets left out.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
The insurance company will always initially try to get you to settle for less. They will try to take as much time as possible to pressure you into settling quickly to an amount that is in their favor. Obtaining a lawyer is enough to counteract this problem and get the insurance company to settle quickly and to an amount that truly represents the damages you have.
Remember to treat every initial offer with skepticism. Insurance companies are a business and they are not always going to be in your best interest. If an offer seems too good to be true or if the insurance company tries to get you to admit to or sign anything, always consult with a lawyer first.
Fighting Your Case in Court
If worst comes to worst and negotiations fall through, we will not hesitate to take your claim to court. Many lawyers will try to avoid a lawsuit in court due to the time it takes to settle, but we will always do what is needed to get you the best possible settlement. If that means taking your case to court, we will.
File a Claim Soon After a Drunk Driver Hits You
You have two years to file a claim after a drunk driver hits you according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §9-3-33. Do not forget this deadline. Once it passes, you will not be able to file a claim anymore.
You should aim to file your claim after you account for all of your damages. While it is best not to rush and file quickly, this does not mean you should wait too long. A lawyer will help you understand the optimal time to file.
Get Help from Our Lawyers Today
If a drunk driver hit you and caused your accident, you need to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible. From there, you can get the legal help you need to file a strong claim and get awarded proper compensation. Do not let the insurance company scam you out of your settlement. For a free consultation, call us today at (404) 400-4000.