What Are The Five Steps To Take After A Drunk Driver Has Hit You In North Carolina?

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What Are The Five Steps To Take After A Drunk Driver Has Hit You In North Carolina?

Experiencing a car accident can be deeply unsettling, but the situation can escalate in distress when the other driver is under the influence of alcohol. In North Carolina, there are precise measures you must undertake if you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of being struck by an intoxicated driver. These actions are vital not only for safeguarding your safety and welfare but also for guaranteeing that proper legal procedures are followed. Here are the five critical steps to follow after being involved in a collision with a drunk driver in North Carolina.

Ensure Safety First

  • Assess The Situation. Immediately after the accident, carefully assess the surroundings to identify any potential hazards or risks. Scan for oncoming traffic, leaking fluids or any other immediate dangers. If you can, move yourself and others to a safe spot away from traffic to avoid more accidents or injuries.
  • Call Emergency Services. Call emergency services, such as 911, to report the accident and ask for help. Give precise details about where the accident occurred, how many people are involved, and if anyone is hurt. Emergency responders will send police, paramedics or firefighters to help and take charge of the situation.
  • Provide Aid Responsibly. As you wait for emergency responders, offer basic first aid to injured individuals if you’re trained. Be careful not to worsen any injuries, particularly if there’s a chance of spinal or neck damage. Provide comfort and support to those involved, and refrain from moving anyone unless it’s vital to prevent more harm.

Contact Law Enforcement

  • Call 911 Or The Local Emergency Number. Call 911 for emergency services or the local emergency number if available. This connects you to law enforcement, fire, and medical services nearby. Give the dispatcher vital details about the accident, like the location, how many vehicles are involved, any injuries, and if drunk driving is suspected.
  • Provide Accurate Details. When talking to the dispatcher, give precise information about the situation. Explain the accident scene, mentioning any dangers or road conditions that could be risky for responders or other drivers. If you believe the other driver is drunk, tell the dispatcher. This will assist law enforcement in prioritizing their response and handling the situation accordingly.
  • Follow Instructions And Cooperate. Follow any guidance given by the dispatcher, such as staying on the line until assistance arrives or providing additional information as needed. Fully cooperate with law enforcement officers when they reach the scene. Share your account of the accident and any relevant details with them, and allow them to conduct their investigation, which may include assessing the sobriety of the other driver.

Gather Evidence

  • Document The Scene. Take pictures and videos from various angles at the accident scene. Capture the vehicle damage, skid marks, road conditions, traffic signs or signals, and any other important details. These visual records are crucial evidence of what happened during the accident.
  • Collect Witness Statements. If there are onlookers or other drivers who saw the accident, request their contact information and accounts of what happened. Witness statements can support your point of view and offer different viewpoints on the accident’s cause. Write down their names, phone numbers, and any important details they share about the incident.
  • Obtain Police Report And Documentation. When police officers reach the scene, ask for a copy of the police report when it becomes accessible. The report usually holds crucial information about the accident, such as the names of those involved, witness statements, fault assessments, and any citations given. Also, remember the names and badge numbers of the officers who responded for future reference.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you don’t sense any immediate discomfort following the accident, it’s vital to seek medical care promptly. Certain injuries, like whiplash or internal trauma, might not show symptoms until several hours or even days later. A healthcare provider can carefully evaluate your condition and record any injuries you’ve suffered, which could be significant for insurance claims or legal matters.

Consult With An Attorney

Managing the aftermath of a car accident caused by a drunk driver can be intricate and daunting. It’s wise to seek guidance from an expert personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can assist you in comprehending your legal entitlements, moving through the legal proceedings, engaging with insurance firms, and pursuing compensation for losses, such as medical bills, lost earnings, and emotional distress.

Why A Drunk Driving Accident Is Worse Than A Regular Accident

An accident involving drunk driving is frequently deemed more serious than a standard collision for several notable reasons, primarily because of the heightened potential for severe injuries, fatalities, and legal ramifications.

  • Impaired Judgment And Reaction Time. Alcohol affects cognitive abilities, such as judgment, reasoning, and reaction time. A driver under the influence may overlook hazards, miscalculate distances or respond slowly to changing road conditions, raising the risk of an accident.
  • Increased Severity Of Collisions. Intoxicated drivers often display unpredictable actions like speeding, veering or disregarding traffic signals, which can lead to high-impact accidents. The intensity of such collisions is typically higher than in usual accidents, resulting in more severe injuries and significant property damage.
  • Higher Risk Of Fatalities. Multiple studies indicate that drunk driving substantially elevates the likelihood of fatalities in car accidents. Alcohol hampers motor skills and coordination, making it difficult for intoxicated drivers to maneuver their vehicles and prevent collisions. Consequently, accidents involving drunk driving are more prone to causing loss of life among drivers, passengers, pedestrians or other road users.
  • Legal Consequences. Operating a vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs constitutes a grave offense with significant legal consequences. Apart from potential criminal charges, such as DUI (Driving Under the Influence), intoxicated drivers may also face civil liability for damages in personal injury or wrongful death claims. The legal consequences of a drunk driving incident can profoundly impact the driver’s life, leading to penalties like fines, license suspension or revocation, and potentially imprisonment.
  • Emotional Impact. The emotional impact of a drunk driving accident can be profoundly distressing for both victims and their loved ones. Recognizing that the collision could have been avoided if the other driver hadn’t decided to drink and drive can intensify emotions of anger, frustration, and sorrow. Survivors of drunk driving accidents may also grapple with psychological distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can disrupt their quality of life and emotional health.
  • Societal Impact. Accidents caused by drunk driving not only impact those directly involved but also carry wider societal effects. They add to the overall toll of traffic fatalities and injuries, strain emergency response resources, and escalate healthcare expenses. Various measures to curb drunk driving, such as public awareness campaigns, law enforcement endeavors, and tougher penalties, strive to alleviate these societal burdens and safeguard lives on the road.

We Will Be Your Legal Representatives

If you or a loved one has been severely injured, don’t delay – call (800) 529-0804 right now for a free consultation with an expert car accident lawyer. When dealing with a stressful situation, you need a knowledgeable personal injury team to guide you through the recovery process. Contact Tatum & Atkinson, PLLC right away! There is no obligation, and it will not cost you anything to learn about your legal possibilities for pursuing compensation.


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