Injured by a Drunk Driver? Here Are Your Legal Options

By now we’ve all heard about the dangers of drinking and driving. Sadly, this brutal combination still happens far too often. The tragedy of drinking and driving is that the choice not only impacts the driver but might result in harm, or even death, to additional people—pedestrians, passengers, and people in other vehicles. If you’ve been injured by someone who was driving while intoxicated, it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what your options are and what needs to be done as you balance your recovery and standard financial obligations. The following will explore some of the options available to you as well as information that might be useful if a drunk driver has injured you.

Insurance Claim Versus Personal Injury Claim

It can be tough to figure out which type of claim to make, especially as often, once you go with one choice, you can’t later change your mind and go with another. Your best bet is to reach out to a legal professional and get their advice on which option is going to result in you getting what you need depending on the severity of the accident and how much damage was done physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. As a general rule, personal injury claims can result in greater compensation.

Insurance Claim Versus Personal Injury Claim

Reaching Out To An Attorney

When selecting an attorney to speak to about your situation, you’re looking for someone who practices law in the state where the injury occurred. This is because the law can change or be interpreted differently across state lines. Ideally, you want a lawyer who’s local because they might have a working relationship with the local judges and insurance teams, meaning they know what sort of evidence and information these folks look for when making a decision resulting in a more efficient claim proceeding (and sometimes higher amounts of compensation). 

In addition, you’re looking for a lawyer who specializes in the type of law you’re dealing with. In your situation, this means you’re looking for an attorney that works with personal injury law or car accidents, more specifically. So, for example, if a drunk driver hits you in Orangeburg, South Carolina, you’re going to be searching for an Orangeburg personal injury lawyer who can help you with your situation. This will help ensure that you’re getting the most pertinent advice to your particular situation.

Don’t Limit Your Options: Stay Off Social Media

One of the things that can quickly limit the choices you have before you is your social media presence. No matter how emotional you might feel, after an accident, refrain from posting about the incident on social media. Even seemingly unrelated things like commenting on a friend’s post about their vacation can be accessed by judges and law enforcement and interpreted in a way that negatively affects your legal outcome. For the best results, stay off social media entirely unless specifically advised by your attorney.

Don’t Limit Your Options: Speak To A Lawyer Right Away

Most states have limits regarding how long after an accident you can file a personal injury claim. Because of this, you want to seek legal counsel as soon as you are able to. This way, you’ll have more time to make the decision about which path you’re going to take with all the information available to you.

As well, due to the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, the courts and other legal offices have been put extremely behind schedule. There is a bottleneck of cases waiting to be addressed that might lead to delays of a year or more. Acting early can help ensure you avoid as much delay as possible when it comes to seeking compensation for your injuries or losses.

Seek Emotional And Mental Support

One of the best things you can do to help yourself navigate the legal options available after being injured by a drunk driver is by ensuring that your mental health is being cared for. Legal proceedings can be stressful, and we know that car accidents are the number one cause of post-traumatic stress disorder in America. You might be struggling with getting back on the road after the incident or might find yourself less trusting of other people. Speaking to a close friend or mental health professional might help you deal with some of the many emotions rising within you.

Using the above tips can help you make a choice between an insurance claim or a personal injury claim during this challenging time. Again, for the most accurate information regarding your specific situation, reach out to an attorney.