Las Vegas is affectionately deemed the "adult playground", and has become famous worldwide for its boisterous night clubs and abundance of alcohol. It is no surprise then that it is commonplace to see drivers negligently get behind the wheel when they're intoxicated.
Although many residents and visitors will take advantage of the abundance of taxi cabs, it offers us little consolation if we are the unfortunate ones to have been hit by a drunk driver. More than 33% of fatal accidents involve a driver who has a BAC of 0.08 or higher- the legal limit to drive in the state of Nevada.
Not only is your chance of getting in to an accident quadrupled at this amount, the chances of causing serious injury are equally as high.
Important Tips for the Scene of the Accident
If you are hit by a drunk driver, remember these key things to protect you during the legal process:
- If you are hit by a drunk driver, call police to the scene immediately. Be cautious about speaking to the driver as they could become violent. Mention to the police that you believe they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you feel okay. Keep a detailed journal of any pain you may notice. Do NOT wait until its too late to collect on your injuries
- Collect on the diminished value of your vehicle - a car that has been in an accident suffers a substantial loss in car value. Your settlement should compensate for the loss of value in your vehicle, called the "dimished value"
- See if you qualify for punitive damages- if the driver was intoxicated and therefore egregiously negligent then you may be entitled to compensation for the unecessary pain and suffering you were caused
Talk to a Lawyer
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you achieve the full value of your claim- those who hire attorneys will usually receive three times more than those who don't.
A lawyer will be aware of all the monies you are owed, and will help you collect them in the case the driver is difficult or hit-and-runs your car. Even if the driver flees the scene, if you have uninsured motorist coverage your insurance company will pay for your injuries as if it was the other car's insurance company. This will also protect you in the case that the other driver is underinsured and their policy limits are unsatisfactory and not commesurate with your injuries. A lawyer may also help you receive medical attention and a rental vehicle if you do not have medical insurance.
There is a Criminal as Well as Your Civil Case
A drunk driving personal injury claim is a serious matter, and involves proving negligence of the other driver against their public defender or criminal defense attorney. A personal injury lawyer will also help you collect on a wrongful death claim if someone you love was killed as a result of the drunk driving accident. Although your relative or spouse's life could never be replaced by any sum of cash, a personal injury claim could be life saving in the even they were the head of household.
Don't be concerned if you can't afford an attorney, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis - meaning there are no upfront payments and no payment if the case is not won. This allows you to have the very best attorney represent you, no matter your income level. (Learn more about how your personal injury lawyer is paid).