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4 Steps to Take after Injury in a DUI Accident

Posted on: March 29, 2017 by Edwards & Patterson Law

DUI Accident

When you have been involved a possible Driving Under the Influence or DUI accident, the decisions you make right away could determine if you receive adequate compensation, which you are entitled to, such as paid medical expenses, lost income, in-home care in case of paralysis, and others because of another driver’s criminal behavior. Drunk drivers in Oklahoma, particularly repeat offenders know that if they are caught again they face one to five years in prison, many thousands of dollars in fines and fees, and a loss of driving privileges for a long time. Therefore, they will do or say just about anything to keep you from calling the police.

Although Oklahoma law allows the drivers to exchange insurance information and drive away when there are no apparent injuries or if the property damages are less $300, the actions you take immediately after the accident could determine if you receive compensation and how much. There are four steps to follow if there is an injury in a DUI accident in which you were involved. How well you stick to these guidelines could determine how well your attorney will fare gaining compensation for you or your family’s injuries:

Step # 1 Remain Calm

Check everyone in your car, if there are injuries call 911 immediately. Apply first aid if you know what to do, restore breathing, stop the bleeding, and reassure the injured person that help is on the way are the key lifesaving steps. Move your car to the shoulder of the road, if possible to avoid another collision. If you have a dash cam, make sure it is recording. If there is someone else that can stay with the injured person, check the people in the other car. If someone is injured, reassure them that help is on the way, as well. If the driver of the other vehicle becomes angered or belligerent, do not argue with them or attempt to take pictures of their car. Return to your vehicle, put out warning triangles or flares, particularly if it is dark, foggy, or raining. Take pictures of the accident scene and obvious injuries to the people in your car. The better the facts are recorded at the scene the better your lawyer will have establishing fault. Although the police in eastern Oklahoma are very thorough, not everything makes it into the police report.

Do not withhold any information about the accident. Tell the police everything about recall: did the other car appear to be speeding; swerving in and out of their lane; how the driver of the other vehicle reacted to your question, if anyone needed help; if you noticed a smell of alcohol on the other driver, or if you saw someone that may have witnessed the accident.

Step #2 Seek Medical Attention

Even when there is only minor pain or no apparent injuries, it is advisable to get a thorough medical exam for everyone that was involved in the accident. The adrenaline from the accident can conceal injuries and you may not realize you have been injured until the next day or a few days later when the pain begins. If you are not transported to the hospital by ambulance, personal injury attorneys will advise you to get a medical exam within 72 hours after the accident. Insurance companies will argue that you could not have been injured very seriously if you delayed getting an exam any longer than that. There is even a legal term for this, “Delay of Treatment.”

Do not suffer or let anyone in your family suffer because you believe you cannot afford to see a doctor. If the other driver was guilty of driving under the influence, they are most likely liable for you and your family’s medical treatments. Oklahoma is an “at fault” state; therefore, a personal injury attorney will go after the at-fault driver or their insurance company, which in the case of a DUI accident (above .08% blood alcohol content) or driving while impaired DWI (this in Oklahoma is .04-.08%), it is usually the one who was driving impaired or DUI.

Step #3 Start a Journal about the DUI Accident

As soon as possible after the accident, you should start a journal about the events just prior to and after the accident. Keep a log of all your expenses, particularly medical, lost income, and property damage. But, do not ignore miscellaneous expenses such as transportation to and from the hospital, rental vehicles, prescription drugs, and other expenses that you would not have had to pay if not for the accident. It is much easier to keep track daily or periodically than to try to backtrack later.

Do not accept a settlement from anyone until you have spoken with an independent attorney. Insurance companies quite often come with a quick low-ball offer in hopes that victims who need money will accept far less than they deserve.

Step #4 Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

This is far the most important step you can take to ensure your family receives the compensation you deserve. We at Edwards & Patterson are proud to serve all of Oklahoma and Arkansas from our offices in McAlester and Tulsa. If you have been injured in a DUI accident, fill out our contact form or call 877-402-7308. If for whatever reason, you cannot make it to us, we will come to you.

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  • Contact Edwards & Patterson Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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