What To Do if the Driver Who Caused Your Accident Is Under the Influence

Madeleine Jones
November 14, 2018

Car accidents can be devastating, even when both drivers are fully sober and alert. An accident that happens due to the influence of drugs or alcohol is much more likely to happen and can cause even more severe injuries. It’s because of the lack of safety that comes from driving under the influence that getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is illegal.

If you are in a car accident and the other driver appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you’ll likely have a strong chance of recovering compensation for your claim. However, you can’t simply say that the other driver was under the influence and expect to get anywhere. For your claim to be successful, you’ll need to provide evidence to support your claim.

Paying Attention at the Crash Scene

After you’ve confirmed the safety of everyone at the site of the accident, you should call 911 if you suspect the other driver is under the influence. Let the dispatcher know where you are, whether anyone requires immediate medical attention, and that you suspect the other driver may have used drugs or alcohol before driving.

Once the police arrive, tell them about the crash, making sure to include any details that are relevant for the police report. Some details you may want to include if you noticed them are that you:

  • Noticed the other driver swerving or driving at an inappropriate speed before the crash
  • Smelled drugs or alcohol on the other driver when speaking to him or her
  • Saw the other driver use eyedrops
  • Saw someone from the other car try to throw away bottles or cans of alcohol or drug paraphernalia
  • Noticed the driver switch out with a passenger in another vehicle

Drivers under the influence may use the time before law enforcement arrives to attempt to hide evidence. Anything you notice in the meantime may be the clue the police need to conduct a field sobriety, drug, or alcohol test. Photos, video, and witness statements can help you preserve this evidence.

Though you want to report this information for the police report, it’s important to remain factual while giving your statement. Even if the other driver is under the influence and at fault for the accident, you want to remain objective while speaking with law enforcement.

DUI Convictions and Your Accident

If law enforcement has enough reasonable evidence to suspect that the other driver is under the influence, an officer may conduct testing on the scene or arrest the driver for potential violation of the law. This information will go into the police report, which you can obtain a copy of for your case.

If the court convicts the other driver of DUI, that ruling can greatly help your own claim. Any evidence used to prove intoxication at the time of the accident can help establish fault in your case, allowing you to recover compensation.

However, the other driver does not need to receive a DUI conviction for your claim to be successful. Other evidence can help establish fault in the crash, still enabling you to receive compensation. Gathering other evidence at the scene and working with a skilled attorney can help you find the approach that’s best for your case.

Accidents that happen because a driver is under the influence of drugs and alcohol are some of the most preventable, but they unfortunately still happen – and some have devastating results. After reporting your accident to the police and receiving medical treatment, it’s in your best interest to seek the help of a lawyer. With the right car accident lawyer, you can correctly navigate the complexities of your claim and spend your time focusing on recovery.