5 Tips After Being in an Accident With an Inebriated Driver
1. Seek Medical Treatment
Make sure you seek medical treatment immediately if you are injured in a car accident with an intoxicated driver. The insurance companies’ mantra is generally “If you don’t treat, you are not hurt.” Follow-up with your medical provider as requested.
2. Get Your Bills Paid
To get paid for your medical bills, wage loss, and other economic damages, set up a claim for personal injury protection or “PIP” insurance benefits with your own car insurance company. If you were a passenger in someone else’s car, you can create a claim with the insurance company for the owner of the car.
Read How Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Work in Oregon? for more information.
3. Get Paid for Pain and Suffering
To get money for your pain, suffering, and mental and emotional distress – or what the law refers to as noneconomic damages – you need to set up a liability claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Talk to an attorney before you contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company, as they will record what you say and use it against you. They may ask you to provide a recorded statement about the car accident. You are not required to do so and you should consult with an experienced DUI accident attorney before you do.
4. Punitive Damages Can Help Your Case
Punitive damages can be recovered in DUI accidents. Punitive damages are designed to punish the at-fault driver. Although the at-fault driver’s insurance company probably will not pay for punitive damages, these damages can still help your case. They increase the value of your pain and suffering and mental and emotional distress damages.
The G.R. Johnson Law firm is experienced in using punitive damages claims to ensure you get a fair settlement from your case. In addition to the insurance issues, punitive damages cannot be included in a complaint filed to start a lawsuit. The State of Oregon also takes 70 percent of any punitive damages recovered, so it’s important to consult with an experienced punitive damages attorney like Gary R. Johnson.
For more information on punitive damages read Gary’s blog post Punitive Damages: What are They and Why Should You Care?
5. Contact an Attorney ASAP
Most DUI accident cases settle, but it is important to have an lawyer help you to make sure you assert all of the claims to which you are entitled. Don’t do anything to damage your case. Insurance companies often request medical records and other documents which they may not be entitled to.
An experienced DUI accident attorney like Gary R. Johnson will protect you from overbearing tactics by the impaired driver’s insurance company, and will make sure you get the maximum settlement you are entitled to. He has experience with insurance company tactics because he represented insurance companies for many years. Now he uses this knowledge and insight to help victims of car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers.