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What DUI Crash Victims Should Know

Posted in Car Accidents on Monday, February 12, 2024.

Drunk driving is dangerous. Unfortunately, some people still believe they are the exception to the rule and get behind the wheel while drunk, endangering both themselves and others.

When you have been injured because of a drunk driver, you may have a legal right to have the driver compensate you for your injuries. Obtaining that compensation, however, can be a complicated process. An experienced car accident attorney could help you understand what DUI crash victims should know about the process.

What to Do Following an Accident

Actions that could potentially affect an injured person’s legal rights could occur even before they leave the scene of the crash. It is imperative that victims of DUI wrecks know the proper steps to take immediately following a wreck; these include:

  • Check whether anyone involved in the wreck needs immediate medical attention
  • Call the proper authorities to inform them of the accident and let them know another driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • If safe to do so, document as much of the accident as possible through photos or videos and get contact information for anyone involved in the wreck or who may have witnessed it
  • Be polite and courteous to other people involved in the wreck, but do not apologize to them or make any other statements that could be construed as admitting fault for the accident
  • Receive medical attention as soon as possible; even if no symptoms are visible yet, they may arrive later after the adrenaline from the crash subsides

After taking care of these immediate steps, a person injured in a wreck should speak with an attorney to determine if it would be beneficial to have the lawyer represent their interests and guide them through the rest of the process.

Civil Versus Criminal Liability

After a wreck, the police may arrest the intoxicated individual. 75 Pennsylvania Statute § 3802 makes it a crime to drive with blood alcohol concentration in excess of 0.08%, and the intoxicated person may be subject to fines, probation, or even jail time, depending on the circumstances.

All victims of drunk driving accidents need to be aware that these criminal penalties will not require any compensation to be paid for their injuries. In order to force the intoxicated person to pay for the losses, the injured person must file a civil lawsuit alleging that the drunk driver acted negligently. The fact that the drunk driver is convicted of a crime is great evidence that they acted negligently, but it still requires a separate legal proceeding. The criminal trial is about the Commonwealth punishing the drunk driver for breaking the law. The civil trial is about compensating the injured person for the damage the drunk driver did to them.

Call to Understand the Rights Drunk Driving Crash Victims Should Be Aware

When you have been injured by a drunk driver, you have enough on your plate healing and recovering from your injuries. You do not have to confront the legal system on your own. You deserve to have an advocate who could protect your interests and help you make informed decisions when exercising your legal rights.

Schedule an appointment with an experienced attorney who could help you understand what DUI crash victims should know and expect, given the circumstances surrounding your accident.