An automobile accident can be an incredibly stressful moment where it is very hard to keep calm and focused on what you should do. Dealing with someone who is under the influence of drugs and alcohol only makes it that much more difficult to know what to do and when to do it. However, there are a few things to try to keep in mind if this ever happens to you in order to ensure your safety and well-being both right after the crash and in the time to come.
Take stock of your body, your position, and the condition of your car. Use your senses. Can you feel all your limbs? Is there any indication you shouldn’t move? Do you smell any gas? Hear anything unusual? Your heart will probably be racing. Try to breath slowly and calm yourself the best you can. As your body calms down, you’ll be better able to experience all that is going on around you. Slowly you can adjust your focus from your body to what is going on outside your car. If the accident is minor, then this can all take place in under a minute. For a more major crash, then this may take several moments.
You’ll be concerned for the other driver, even if you know they’d been driving erratically and caused the crash. But your own safety has to come first since you can’t help anyone if you further injure yourself. If you’re unable to move, then try to call 911 if you can reach your phone. If you’re okay, do what you can to protect yourself from other people still driving on the road. Turn on your hazards, and set up flares if you have them if it’s dark. If the accident is minor, you’ll be safer if the vehicles involved can be moved off of the road to the side. Big Sky Collision has good information on when it’s best to move your car after an accident.
Once you’ve established your own well-being, it’s safe for you to check on the drunk driver. What can you see from where you are? If you can tell from where you are that they are not in any danger but are showing signs of unreasonable behavior, then keep your distance. However, if it looks like they need immediate attention, approach and see if there’s anything you can do. You should also be taking note of the drunk driver’s demeanor and behavior. You may be called upon to testify about your observations. If possible, try getting a video recording of anything that seems relevant. If it’s not safe to do so, then do what you can to focus on your observations so they remain easily able to be recalled later. If the other driver is belligerent or aggressive, try to stay in your car with the doors locked and the windows up. Get a video if you can.
Even if it seems like neither of you need medical attention, you still want first responders on the scene so medical evidence of impairment can be collected. The police can perform a breathalyzer and EMTs can also provide medical evidence. This will be great objective evidence to have in the time following the accident when you’re going to need to make sure you’re compensated for repairs, time out of work, and any medical care you need.
While you’re waiting for the first responders to arrive, and if you’re physically able to do so, this is a good time to collect information. According to State Farm, you should gather: names and contact information from all people involved, vehicle descriptions, license plate numbers and driver’s license numbers, insurance information, any eye witness accounts, scene information, police officer’s name and badge number. If the other person does not cooperate, do not push it. Make note of their refusal to exchange information, and let the police deal with it when they arrive.
A car crash can be a very confusing time since it happens so fast and sometimes completely out of nowhere. If you were hit from behind or the side, you may not have any idea whether or not the person you were hit by was a drugged or drunk driver. Maybe you are wondering if you ran a stop sign or didn’t see something you should have. Regardless, do not admit fault. There will be plenty of time after for objective parties to analyze the scene and determine what happened. When describing the accident to first responders, stick to the facts. Do not apologize or blame yourself.
The time following an accident can be difficult to navigate, especially if you’re dealing with injuries and need to focus your energy on recovery. The attorneys at Saladino & Schaaf are ready to give you the support and help you need. When you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, visit us online or call (270) 444-0406 to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible after the accident.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is dedicated to providing high quality, aggressive legal representation to victims of personal injury and wrongful death. Since 1984, this firm and its predecessors have had one goal in mind – to help the victims of personal injury put the pieces of their lives back together.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is a Personal Injury Law Firm with offices in Paducah, KY and Murray, KY. We serve clients throughout Kentucky and Illinois.
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