Hit in a DUI Accident? Here’s What Happens Next.
Accidents happen and generally, fall under civil liability, but when a driver under the influence hits you, it becomes a criminal case and must be handled differently.
Is a driver under the influence automatically at fault? No, but a DUI is more likely to be found at fault. For example, if the car had a mechanical failure, the driver, drunk or sober, may be clear. If the accident was secondary — car A hits car B then car B hits you — car A may well be found completely at fault even if B’s driver was DUI. All the facts need to be in and an experienced lawyer like David Morgan helps collect and present those facts to your best advantage.
Both Idaho and Utah are implied consent states, meaning anyone operating a vehicle in the state has given consent to test for impairment. Let the police make the call about a field or chemical sobriety test. (Staying out of this conversation is in your interest.) You or your insurance company should obtain a copy of that test for your records, as the alleged DUI’s level of impairment impacts your legal situation.
Some evidence, like still photos of the cars and accident scene, is unrestricted. Audio or video recording of a person, even in this situation, is different. Shoot it, but don’t share it with anyone except your lawyer until the case is adjudicated. (Definitely not something to post on social media! You might open yourself to legal action.) Impaired people are unpredictable, so don’t give them an excuse, always be polite and professional!
If no police are around, exchange names/contact info with witnesses. Ask if they took photos or video and scan the area for surveillance cameras. If the DUI leaves, collect evidence (broken tail light or lost hubcaps or whatever) or watch it until the police to collect it.
If someone is hurt, they are your first priority; but keep one eye on the other driver. You’re now facing disabilities and costs that could be short- or long-term or permanent. Whatever happens to the DUI criminally affects how much compensation you can collect or if you can collect any.
Any auto accident can be catastrophic, and if it involves a DUI, it gets that much more complex. Do you negotiate a settlement or go to court? Will insurance cover it or do you pursue additional money from the driver? Your initial consultation with the Morgan Law Firm with cover all legal optionsand wee can do that in our Boise, Idaho, or Lehi, Utah, offices; our satellite offices; your home or even your hospital room. Whatever it takes.