By the Law Firm of Brandt & Sherman
Being involved in an accident with a drunk driver can be a harrowing experience. It's not just the immediate trauma but also the confusion about what to do next. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation in the state of Louisiana, understanding your legal options is important. This article aims to guide you through the steps you can take to protect your rights and seek the justice you deserve.
The moments after an accident are critical. First and foremost, ensure your safety and that of others involved. Call 911 immediately, not only to report the accident but also to have the police document the scene. This is especially important in drunk driving cases, as a police report can be pivotal in your claim.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don’t feel hurt. Some injuries, particularly internal ones, may not be immediately apparent. Getting a medical evaluation creates a record of your injuries, which is essential for your claim.
In Louisiana, as in all states, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense. If the driver who hit you was legally intoxicated, this could significantly impact your case. Louisiana’s comparative negligence laws mean that liability can be shared among parties, but in DUI cases, the drunk driver is often found predominantly at fault.
It's also worth noting that in some cases, Louisiana law allows for "dram shop" liability. This means that a business that served alcohol to the drunk driver could potentially be held responsible.
After a drunk driving accident, dealing with insurance companies can be challenging. Insurance adjusters might try to settle quickly, but it's essential to understand the full extent of your damages first. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Speaking with a knowledgeable car accident attorney can provide clarity on the value of your claim and help you negotiate effectively with insurance companies.
Remember, accepting an initial offer from an insurance company might prevent you from pursuing further compensation. Therefore, it's crucial to consult with a lawyer before making any decisions.
If the insurance settlement doesn’t cover your losses, or if other factors complicate your claim, you might consider filing a lawsuit. Louisiana law permits you to sue for damages related to the accident. This can include compensation for physical, emotional, and financial losses.
A lawsuit can also seek punitive damages against the drunk driver, serving as a punishment for their reckless behavior and a deterrent for others. An experienced personal injury lawyer can guide you through this process, helping to build a strong case on your behalf.
The aftermath of an accident with a drunk driver can be overwhelming, but you don't have to navigate it alone. Our team at Brandt & Sherman is committed to helping you understand your legal options and fight for the compensation you deserve. If you've been hit by a drunk driver in Lafayette, reach out to us for a consultation and take the first step towards protecting your rights.