The dangerous effects of alcohol on drivers have become common knowledge over several decades of research and awareness. We now know that drinking reduces coordination, decreases our ability to track moving objects, and slows reaction time. Yet, an astonishing 17 million Americans admit to having driven while intoxicated. Unfortunately, most of these drivers make it to their destination without being discovered by law enforcement, and many will feel comfortable to drink and drive again. In fact, studies show that one-third of intoxicated drivers are repeat offenders. In the end, these drivers are the primary cause of nearly 10,000 vehicular deaths each year.
Unfortunately, not only are motorists in Louisiana equally at risk of falling victim to a drunk driver, our state’s number of fatalities has actually increased. In 2012, 241 Louisiana traffic deaths resulted from drunk driving, increasing 10 percent from 2011. Knowing that there are intoxicated drivers on the road and that upcoming holidays such as Mardi Gras and St Patrick’s Day mean heavy alcohol consumption, should make drivers more wary. Additionally, it’s important to know what steps to take should you be involved in an accident with a suspected drunk driver. Here are the most critical of those steps:
- Seek Medical Help Immediately – Quite often, it is not the intoxicated driver, but rather the victims of their negligence who sustain the worst injuries. Regardless of whether you immediately feel injured following an accident, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Not all injuries are readily apparent, and some may require additional testing or assessment in order to diagnose. If you have chosen to forego treatment only to have symptoms appear later, you should still see a physician and inform them of your accident before your examination.
- Document the Accident – If you are able to do so, document as much about the accident as possible while still at the scene. Take photos or video of the vehicles and crash site, and obtain information from the other driver and any occupants of their vehicle. Additionally, in the case of an intoxicated driver, document anything seen or heard which would indicate the consumption of alcohol, and bring this information to the attention of responding officers.
- Call Police – If they have not already been notified, contact police immediately following the accident. Do not leave the scene, and do not let anyone persuade you not to call law enforcement. Officers will not only be able to help direct traffic and secure the crash site, the documentation in their police report will be critical for you to obtain later. They also will be able to determine if suspected drunk drivers actually are intoxicated at the time of the accident.
- Contact an Attorney – After the above steps have taken place, it is important to contact a Louisiana personal injury attorney. A skilled injury lawyer will not only be able to help you determine the value of your case, they will also be able to help you avoid any potentially detrimental missteps in dealing with an insurance company which could impact your final settlement amount. For those who have sustained serious injury due to the poor judgment of a drunk driver, this is especially important in ensuring that all pain, suffering, medical costs, and missed wages are adequately covered.
At Spencer Calahan Injury Lawyers, we too often see the devastating consequences that follow drunk driving accidents. Our auto injury attorneys have over 100 years combined experience, and are here to help injured victims find the justice they deserve. If you have been injured by a drunk driver in Baton Rouge, contact our office by clicking here, or calling us directly at (225) 387-2323. One of our attorneys will gladly speak to you and provide a no obligation consultation to help determine the value of your case.