How To Deal With The Far-Reaching Consequences of Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving accidents are unfortunately not uncommon in Houston. Even with the state’s restrictive alcohol laws, like no liquor sales on Sundays, drunk driving crashes occur daily on streets in and around the city.
Hopefully, you’re never involved in an accident with an intoxicated driver but if you are, the aftermath can be devastating. If you’re coping with the aftermath of a DUI accident, here are some strategies to help you get through this difficult time.
Put Yourself First
Even if you don’t have significant injuries or are physically recovered, you may still be dealing with emotional trauma. This is normal and not unexpected. After all, you’ve been through a traumatic experience, and recovery often takes some time.
If you’re experiencing emotional difficulties, there are some steps you can take:
- Make an appointment with a counselor or therapist. Some counselors specialize in the aftermath of drunk driving and other types of catastrophic car accidents. Remember, a drunk driving accident doesn’t have to result in a fatality to cause emotional turmoil. Talking about your thoughts and feelings relating to the accident can help you process the event and learn how to manage your emotions.
- Stay active. Don’t spend all of your time at home sitting on the couch or in bed. Get outside or at least move around indoors. Start exercising or engage in a hobby like gardening. Exercise and other activities that get you up and moving are proven ways to boost your well-being. You may find it easier to deal with emotions like depression and anxiety when you’re active.
- Try to return to your daily routine as soon as possible. Drunk driving accidents can disrupt your normal routine, and this can negatively impact your mental health. While you probably aren’t ready to resume daily activities immediately after the accident, try to get back into your routine at least one step at a time. For example, if your day typically starts with a cup of coffee and a shower, before heading to work. Start with the coffee and shower. Eventually, you’ll be ready to return to work. Don’t rush the process. Take your time, even if it’s only adding one step every few days.
As you’re working on your recovery, stay in contact with your physician. Not only will your physician monitor your physical recovery process, but they can also provide referrals for qualified counselors and therapists.
What to Do If You’re Involved in a Drunk-Driving Accident
The Texas Department of Transportation reports that 26% of drunk driving accidents resulted in a fatality in 2022, which breaks down to around three deaths every day in the Lonestar State as a result of drunk driving. This statistic is not only sobering, but it also means you’re at an increased risk of being involved in a vehicle accident with an intoxicated driver.
So, what should you do if you’re hit by a drunk driver? There are a few steps you should take to help protect your safety and any potential personal injury claim.
Check for Injuries
Drunk driving accidents typically result in significant vehicle damage, and this increases your chances of injuries.
First, check yourself and any passengers for injuries, and before exiting your vehicle, make sure it’s safe to do so. Not every collision pushes the involved vehicles to the side of the road. You may end up in the center of the road or oncoming traffic. Make sure it’s safe before opening the car door.
Go ahead and check the other involved vehicles for any injuries. This way you have a better idea of what to tell the emergency operator.
Report the Accident
Yes, you must report a drunk driving accident, which applies even if there are no injuries or vehicle damage. Texas law is pretty straightforward and there aren’t any exceptions. Basically, it’s illegal to get behind the wheel if you’re intoxicated, the penalties are also stiff and can involve fines, jail time, or both.
Who responds to the accident depends on where it occurs—however, whoever responds to the accident scene will create a police report. You’ll need a copy of the accident report, even if you’re not planning on filing a personal injury claim. Your insurance provider will want a copy of the police report before issuing a settlement for any damages.
If you are planning on seeking compensation, the report will be a vital piece of supporting evidence.
Don’t Engage with a Drunk Driver
Intoxicated drivers aren’t always pleasant to deal with—aggressive behavior is common, and there’s no reason to place yourself in harm’s way. This may mean not checking the other vehicle’s occupants for injuries if needed.
Before approaching the other vehicle, assess the other driver’s mood and condition. If you notice the other driver is agitated, it’s probably best to stay in the relative safety of your vehicle and let the responding emergency personnel assess their injuries.
Document the Accident Scene
Don’t worry about playing detective if you’ve sustained injuries or are too shaken up to take a few pictures, you can always fall back on the accident report. However, if you’re able to, it’s a good idea to get additional documentation since the more evidence you have to present, the stronger your personal injury case.
Take pictures of any injuries you may have sustained, along with your vehicle damage. Don’t worry about documenting the damage to the other vehicle. Remember, you don’t want to engage with an intoxicated driver.
Contact Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible, contact your insurance company since you want to get the ball rolling on your accident claim. Processing your claim can be a lengthy process, so it’s best to get started right away.
However, don’t accept any offer from the insurance company if you’re planning on filing a personal injury claim. You haven’t had time to calculate all of your damages.
Don’t Deal with the Aftermath of Drunk Driving Accidents Alone
Facing the aftermath of a drunk driving accident can be daunting, and tackling the legal complexities alone might lead to overlooking crucial aspects of your claim.
Engaging an experienced personal injury attorney not only ensures that your rights are fully protected but also maximizes the likelihood of receiving comprehensive compensation for all the damages incurred.