Drunk driving takes a devastating toll across the United States each year. The most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 10,511 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2018, accounting for 29% of total fatalities.
In Connecticut, that percentage is even higher, as 39% of all motor vehicle crashes involved alcohol. In 2018, 115 fatalities were reported out of 294 total deaths. That number was slightly lower than in 2017 when 42% of all highway fatalities were alcohol related.
Protect yourself if you are injured by a drunk driver
In the immediate aftermath of a crash, it’s likely you will not know whether alcohol was involved, but regardless, there are several steps you should take:
- Call police or 911: First, check for injuries and call 911 if anyone is hurt. Even if there are no injuries, call the police if you suspect the other driver is drinking. Some drunk drivers will try to convince you to exchange insurance information but not call the cops.
- Document the scene: Using your smartphone, take pictures, or record video and narrate what you are seeing, or get witnesses to share their version of the crash. Having this evidence can be invaluable if you go to court later on.
- Get names and addresses: While many people believe police will take down all the names and contact information for witnesses, that’s not always the case unless a fatality is involved. If you are unable to get this info yourself, ask someone else to do it for you.
- Get prompt treatment for injuries: Regardless of the severity of your injuries, seek immediate treatment at a hospital or emergency room. Head and back injuries may not seem serious at first, but you can develop complications later. Failure to get prompt treatment can hurt your ability to collect damages later.
- Cooperate with law enforcement: While you should consult with your attorney first, work with prosecutors pursuing a DUI conviction against the person who injured you. That conviction can be crucial for your personal injury case against the driver and other potential defendants.
Pursue the compensation you deserve
If the actions of a drunk driver injure you or a loved one, you can suffer devastating consequences, including massive medical bills, lost wages and other related costs. With the help of your personal injury attorney, you can also seek noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering and mental anguish. Your attorney will aggressively pursue your interests for the best outcome possible.