Arkansas’ driving rules, like the rules of most states, prohibit driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Around 1,769 people are killed in car crashes each year because of drunk driving in Arkansas. This places the death rate above the national average and means that approximately 1/3 of all car accident deaths in the state are alcohol-related. Because of this, it is important to understand what to do after a drunk driving accident. Arkansas car accident injury lawyer Ken Kieklak explains what your first steps after being struck by a drunk driver should be and what your options for receiving compensation might be. For a free consultation on your car accident injury case, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law.
What to Do After a Drunk Driving Accident
It is important to call the police and an ambulance and get help if you are injured in a drunk driving accident. Arkansas law requires you to report any car accident involving death, personal injury, or a certain level of property damage. Moreover, if you are injured, you should be seen by EMTs and perhaps taken to the ER depending on the seriousness of your injuries.
It is also important to call the police if you suspect the other driver of being drunk. The police are better trained at recognizing a drunk driver and have the power to arrest the driver and perform breath or blood tests to prove that the driver was intoxicated. Especially if you were injured in the crash, the drunk driver will likely be charged with a DUI/DWI crime. The information the police obtain, the results of their blood test, and the record of conviction for DUI/DWI can all be excellent evidence if you pursue a legal case against the drunk driver, so it is important to talk to the police and get their contact information or badge numbers.
If you were seriously injured, it may be difficult to do anything else. Your first priority should be to get the medical help you need and focus on your recovery. If you are able to move about, though, there is certain information you should collect at the scene. If you cannot do this personally, consider asking a friend or family member to come to the scene of the crash and do it for you.
If you can, get the following information about the accident:
- The names, contact info, and driver’s license info for any drivers, passengers, and witnesses;
- The insurance and vehicle registration information for all vehicles involved;
- The make, model, and license plate number of all vehicles;
- If you were hit by a truck or another commercial vehicle, get information about the driver’s employer;
- The location of the accident, including cross-streets or mile-markers, if available;
- Information on the lighting and weather conditions; and
- Information on posted speed limits, traffic lights, and other signs and signals.
If you can, take pictures of the scene as well. Today, nearly everyone’s phone has a camera, which can be used to take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, any injuries you received, the other driver’s face (for identification purposes), and the scene of the accident. If you can, get shots of the accident as a whole as well as close-ups of damage. If you need to, you can also use your phone to take video of yourself as you explain information or take notes, or you can use the camera to record the drunk driver. This video could help show a jury signs of drunkenness, like slurred speech, stumbling, or other information.
Getting Compensation for a Drunk Driving Crash in Arkansas
Arkansas’ laws allow you to file personal injury lawsuits for a car accident. While you may be able to file your case with insurance, the money an insurance claim will pay you may fail to include the full damages a lawsuit might entitle you to. Through insurance, you might be able to claim damages for your medical expenses and lost wages, but you may not be receive damages for your pain and suffering. If the drunk driver is charged and prosecuted for drunk driving offenses, the criminal justice system may also seek “restitution” to pay you for some of your needs. This, too, may not cover your full medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Many drunk driving accidents have more severe injuries than normal car crashes. Because the drunk driver’s ability to stop quickly and make safe decisions are impaired, the accident may be significantly worse. This could include issues caused by the drunk driver’s speeding, failing to attempt to brake, or even speeding up before the crash.
If you faced serious injuries, it is vital to talk to an attorney to understand what your case might be worth. Never accept payment from an insurance company or from the other driver without talking to an attorney first, since doing so may be considered a “settlement” that blocks you from suing later.
Fayetteville Drunk Driving Victim Attorney Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was injured or if a family member was killed in a drunk driving accident, talk to a lawyer today. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is a Fayetteville personal injury lawyer who represents the victims of serious accidents and their families. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (479) 439-1843.