Drunk driving gets a lot of attention, as it should. An equally important problem that isn’t discussed as frequently, though, is drugged driving. Driving while under the influence of illegal or legal drugs is just as dangerous as driving while drunk, and it is something that claims the lives of many people every year.
Car accidents involving drugged drivers are, unfortunately, on the rise. While drugs were only a factor in about 16 percent of fatal crashes in 1999, they are now a factor in nearly a third of car accident fatalities. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 12.8 million people over the age of 16 admitted to driving after using illicit drugs in 2017. Those are some frightening statistics!
What’s even scarier, of course, is being involved in a drug-related car accident. If you have been injured by a drugged driver, you have the right to claim damages. In order to receive the compensation to which you are entitled, however, there are several steps that you need to follow. Here are a few steps to take after being injured in a drug-related car accident.
Contact the Authorities
Call 911 immediately after the crash, even if you only have minor injuries. Let the dispatcher know that you are injured and request that they send a police officer and an ambulance to the scene. While you are waiting for help to arrive, stay close to your vehicle, but make sure you are in a safe place. Leave your vehicle exactly where it is unless you need to move it for safety reasons.
Don’t interact with the other driver. If they are impaired by drugs, they could be dangerous. If it is safe to do so, lock yourself inside your vehicle until assistance arrives.
Talk with the Police Officer
Once an officer arrives, provide them with your version of the events that unfolded. Make sure to let them know that you believe the other driver may be under the influence of drugs. Ask them to obtain the driver’s contact information and find out how you can get a copy of the police report once it has been completed. If there are any witnesses, request their names and contact information.
Photograph the scene. Get pictures of the position of the vehicles, the damage to your vehicle and any injuries you may have. If the driver is behaving in an erratic manner or appears to be on drugs, film their behavior (if it is safe to do so).
Seek Medical Attention
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need to be transported to the hospital via ambulance. If your injuries are minor and you are able to transport yourself, go to the emergency room or urgent care center immediately. If you would prefer, you can also make a same-day appointment with your primary care provider. Even if you do not think that you are injured, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident.
Document any medical bills or expenses you incur. Even if you just need to buy a box of bandages, keep your receipt. Get copies of any procedures, tests or prescriptions your doctor orders. Ask for copies of any other documentation regarding your injuries as well.
Consult with an Attorney
Contact an experienced lawyer as soon as you are able to do so. Cases involving drugged driving accidents are often complex, and insurance companies fight to pay out as little as possible. Working with an experienced attorney who is familiar with automobile collisions is the best way to ensure that your rights are not infringed upon and that you will be able to recover damages. When speaking with the insurance companies, never sign an offer or accept a settlement without discussing it with your lawyer.
If you have been injured in a drug-related car accident, don’t panic. Remain as calm as possible and follow the steps outlined above to ensure that your rights are protected. Driving under the influence of drugs is just as serious as driving under the influence of alcohol, and when one causes an accident while driving under the influence, they need to be held accountable for their actions. At Kopelman Sitton, we are experienced automobile accident attorneys and we are well-versed in cases involving drugged driving. Please contact us today to arrange a consultation.