If you were recently struck by an impaired motorist, you probably don’t consider yourself lucky. The fact that you managed to survive, though, is incredibly fortunate. After all, drunk drivers are responsible for 29 traffic fatalities around the country every single day.
Thankfully, those who do get hurt in drunk driving accidents—or their surviving loved ones—are usually entitled to compensation for the associated damages. Just because you have grounds for action, though, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a payout.
To secure a satisfactory outcome, you’ll have to put together a strong case. Regardless of the circumstances, this generally starts with taking the following steps:
1. Seek Medical Care
Your first priority following a wreck should be your health. Even if you feel relatively fine in the aftermath, you may have suffered injuries that don’t manifest immediate symptoms. Since you could suffer complications if any such injuries are left untreated, it’s essential that you undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation as soon as possible.
Seeking care right away—and following your doctor’s orders once you do—will also demonstrate a commitment to mitigating damages. This, in turn, will allow you to pursue the maximum payout once negotiations or trial proceedings commence.
2. Start a Personal Injury Journal
Detailed journal entries will help you prove the extent of your non-economic damages. South Dakota allows for the recovery of depression, anxiety, loss of enjoyment in life, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. You can demonstrate these kinds of losses by recording the ways in which your injuries impact your everyday life.
3. Preserve Evidence of Liability
If you gathered any evidence at the scene, duplicate it to ensure redundancy, and then place the originals in a safe place. Such evidence might include dashcam footage, statements from eyewitnesses, and photographs of the wreckage.
4. Preserve Evidence of Damages
Save all the bills, invoices, and receipts that correspond to your injury-related expenses, like hospital bills, replacement services, and home care. You may also be able to recover the funds needed to repair or replace your vehicle. And if you’re unable to work while recovering, you can seek compensation for lost wages, so make sure to save all relevant paystubs, tax returns, and employment records.
5. Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
Once your condition has stabilized, it’s wise to seek legal counsel. A reputable attorney will:
- Conduct a thorough investigation into the accident;
- Gather any additional evidence needed to prove fault;
- Track recoverable damages;
- Correspond with the opposing party;
- Negotiate for a fair settlement; and
- Prepare your case for court, if necessary.
Speak with a Rapid City Car Accident Attorney
If you were seriously hurt in a drunk driving accident, turn to Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, PLLC. With more than a century of collective experience in the legal field, our compassionate team aims to give injured parties the personal attention and straightforward answers they deserve. Call 605-721-2800 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Rapid City.