Being involved in an accident with a drunk driver is something no one wants to live through. Sadly, this unfortunate and scary event happens to far more families than one would like. It could very well happen to you and your family. In 2016, over 1 million people were arrested for drunk driving.

With this in mind, you need to know what to do if you are ever hit by a drunk driver. Below are five steps you should take immediately afterward. It’s better to have a plan everyone knows, than to be overwhelmed when it happens.

Make Sure Everyone Is Safe

The first thing to do after any accident is to check to make sure that no one is seriously harmed. That should always be your first and utmost responsibility. A damaged car can be replaced. You can’t replace a human life.

Call 9-1-1

If anyone is injured in any way, you should always first call 9-1-1. Even if you are not sure someone’s injuries are serious, you should call anyways. Some injuries sustained from things like whiplash are not immediately apparent but still can be life threatening. You also don’t know if someone is hurt in the other vehicle. If they are hurt or unconscious they can also not call for themselves. You can do it right away if you are able to. Make sure you tell them the license plate so it’s recorded on the call. Many drunk drivers flee the scene before police arrives.

Call the Police

The second phone call you make should be to the police to report the accident. When the police arrive, cooperate fully. If the driver was intoxicated, this needs to be determined by the police through tests such as a breathalyzer test. The driver’s intoxication should then become part of the official police report. You may not even know they were drunk till after the police tell you.

Acquire More Evidence

You should also make an attempt to acquire more evidence of the accident. This includes asking for the names of witnesses. It also means going to the doctor and creating medical reports of your injuries. You should even take photos of the scene of the crash with your phone if you can. Take photos if you can, and reassure your kids. They’ll be going through shock and feel scared without fully grasping what’s going on. Ask them and have them assessed by the paramedics.

Get Professional Help

It’s true that car insurance can pay for certain things. However, when a drunk driver causes serious bodily harm to your loved ones, you should certainly seek compensation in a court of law. Contact an attorney seasoned in personal injury cases and explain your situation. You may have a solid case to make in civil court in addition to the criminal case that will follow a drunk driving accident.

Many people feel that there is some sort of weird stigma with getting attorneys involved, but the reality is that intent doesn’t have to do with impact. Someone could have accidentally caused harm that could cost your family your life, health or livelihood. Often with crashes people don’t even see the full effects till afterwards. That can be weeks or years. A nerve being pinched little by little could go unnoticed till it becomes chronic pain. If you are unable to work for an extended period of time due to the accident you could even lose your job. You are not a bad person for looking out for your family.

An auto accident can be scary. Drunk driving accidents, in particular, can be terrifying. However, you need to keep a clear mind after such an accident. If you take the right steps afterwards, you can help to protect your family members both physically and monetarily. It can help to prevent the worst from happening.

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