WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE HIT BY A DRUNK DRIVER
Aug. 16, 2022
A drunk driver’s reckless choice to get behind the wheel can change a life forever. No one deserves to face such recklessness, yet drunk driving accidents continue to happen, leaving victims with costly medical bills and health problems they never should have had to face. After a drunk driving accident, you should focus on recovering from your injuries—and you shouldn’t have to worry about paying the bills for something that wasn’t your fault.
We know that the period after a drunk driving accident can be incredibly overwhelming for you and your loved ones. We want to help you seek the justice you deserve. Our firm—Goldberg, Goldberg & Maloney—has decades of experience pursuing favorable outcomes for our clients. We want to make our community safer, and that means holding drunk drivers accountable for their actions. We’re proud to serve clients in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and the nearby areas.
STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU ARE HIT BY A DRUNK DRIVER
In the moments after the impact, your body and brain may be in shock. Your physical safety and health should be your top priority. It’s also important to take steps to protect your case.
If you have not already, call 911 or seek medical attention at an urgent care center. Again, your physical safety and recovery from the accident should be your top priority. Be sure to make copies of all your medical records and bills. Although you may think you weren’t injured in the accident, you could have been injured internally, which would be difficult for you to diagnose on your own. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Directly after the accident, take pictures of the scene, including both vehicles and any other damaged property, your injuries, and the drunk driver’s license plate, if possible. Exchange contact and insurance information. Lastly, if there were any witnesses to the accident, write down their contact information as well.
LIABILITY IN DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENTS
Who is responsible for the costs caused by a drunk driving accident? That answer varies from state to state and depends on each case. However, it is helpful to know how the law generally works in Pennsylvania. Speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to learn about how the law applies to your situation.
PENNSYLVANIA IS A NO-FAULT STATE
Under Pennsylvania law, fault is not the first factor considered when determining how costs will be covered after an accident. Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault state, meaning that when you sign up for your insurance policy, you choose how much coverage you want.
After an accident, you can file a claim with your insurance policy and your costs should be covered up to the limits set by your policy. Pennsylvania auto insurance generally falls under either limited tort or full tort coverage. Speak with an experienced car accident attorney to learn more about how insurance coverage will work in your case.
PENNSYLVANIA’S DRAM SHOP LAW
Dram shop laws involve the bar, restaurant, or liquor store that sold the alcohol to the obviously intoxicated individual who caused the accident. Under Pennsylvania dram shop laws, you may be able to hold the establishment accountable for their actions. Discuss how Pennsylvania dram shop laws could apply in your case with a car accident lawyer.
DRUNK DRIVING IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE
Because driving under the influence is a criminal offense, it should be easier to prove that the driver was negligent. Keep in mind that establishing negligence is key in cases like these.
PUNITIVE DAMAGES FOR DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT INJURIES OR WRONGFUL DEATH
Damages are financial compensation awarded to the victim to cover costs caused by the accident, including both economic costs (such as medical bills) and noneconomic costs (such as pain and suffering).
Punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault individual, in this case, the drunk driver, for their actions. You may be able to seek punitive damages in your case. If your loved one passed away in a drunk driving accident, you may be able to seek punitive damages in a wrongful death claim.
FILING A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM
Nothing will ever make the situation right after a loved one passes away in a drunk driving accident. You can seek some sort of justice on behalf of your loved one, though, by holding the drunk driver accountable for their actions in court.
In Pennsylvania, the executor of the estate must file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. However, if six months have passed from the date of death and the executor has not filed a case, then any of the beneficiaries may file a wrongful death claim.
WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY
A drunk driving accident is a traumatic event that will leave you with burdens you should never have had to carry. At our firm, Goldberg, Goldberg & Maloney, we understand how difficult this time is, and we will work to help you shoulder that burden. Our team will fight for the best outcome for you and your family, and we’ll work to hold the drunk driver accountable. Goldberg, Goldberg & Maloney are proud to represent clients in West Chester, Pennsylvania and nearby communities in Pennsylvania. Contact our firm today to set up a consultation.