California is the nation’s Golden State and provides endless sunshine, ample natural wonders, and tons of room to walk in the great outdoors.
San Francisco is even ranked one of the most walkable cities in the United States, with thousands of pedestrians commuting by foot to work and school daily.
But what happens when someone’s freedom to walk shatters because a drunk driver hits a pedestrian?
When a drunk driver hits a pedestrian, the consequences can be life-altering. It’s your right to seek the largest monetary recovery possible to help you overcome your injuries.
The Law Office of Chuck Geerhart can help you navigate the legal complexities that result from being hit by a drunk driver. We can help you pursue your case to the fullest extent of the law.
I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Now?
As a pedestrian, after you’ve been in a drunk driving accident, some immediate post-accident action items include:
- Seeking medical attention;
- Gathering physical and documentary evidence;
- Speaking with law enforcement; and
- Learning your legal rights and entitlements.
We’ll address these steps in depth below, as well as describe how an experienced personal injury lawyer can help.
Seeking Treatment for Your Injuries
Following a pedestrian drunk driving accident, it’s best to seek medical attention right away. After making that terrible call to your loved ones to say, “I was hit by a drunk driver,” your next call should be to 911.
As a pedestrian, you do not have the same physical protections as a passenger or driver in a motor vehicle. Consequently, injuries from a drunk driving accident can be severe or even fatal.
The quicker you get a medical evaluation, the better. Sometimes, being struck by a motor vehicle leaves pedestrians with injuries that are not apparent right away.
These types of internal injuries can include traumatic head injuries and internal bleeding. So it is essential to seek medical attention even if your accident seems minor.
Getting immediate medical treatment after a pedestrian accident also creates a clear record of the extent of your injuries immediately following the accident.
If you fail to get immediate treatment, you risk an insurance company claiming that your injuries were sustained in some intervening event that happened after the accident—but before you sought treatment.
When a drunk driver hits a pedestrian, evidence of proper medical attention helps protect you from insurance companies looking to protect their bottom line by getting you to settle for the lowest amount possible.
In short, contemporaneous medical records could be essential to proving your case.
Gathering Evidence About the Accident
As much as you can, gather evidence at the scene of the accident. Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, the weather conditions, and anything else that may be important later.
Get the contact information for the person who hit you and any witnesses if you can. If you are not physically able to do this, you might even ask someone for help if you feel safe doing so.
Also, speak with law enforcement as soon as you can. Obtain a copy of the police report. Save all receipts related to the accident, including any bills for medical care or medications, as well as costs for travel to medical appointments.
If you have to take days off work due to your injuries, document how many hours and how much pay you lose out on. When a drunk driver hits a pedestrian, it can get costly fast!
The better your records are, the better chance you have at recovering what you deserve.
I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver: Can I Sue?
You can almost certainly sue a drunk driver who hits you as a pedestrian. The legal basis for your lawsuit is negligence. Drunk driving is an inherently negligent activity.
In most cases, the pedestrian can sue the driver and be compensated for all losses stemming from the accident.
If the pedestrian dies as a result of the accident, the pedestrian’s estate can sue the drunk driver in a wrongful death action.
I Got Hit by a Drunk Driver: What Am I Entitled To?
Generally, a claim compensates you for costs and losses reasonably attributable to the accident. However, calculating damages is not always simple or straightforward.
There are multiple types of damages, including, but not limited to:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Medical expenses and lost wages are usually easy to calculate—you can simply add up the bills or average a person’s paystubs before the accident.
Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life are more complicated. How much money is your pain worth? A personal injury lawyer can help you calculate some of these more complex numbers.
They can also fight for your rights to help you get the compensation you deserve following a drunk driving accident.
Will Insurance Coverage or Settlements Affect Me?
As we mentioned, unscrupulous insurance companies will try to force you into an unjust settlement at every turn. Don’t take the bait.
If at any time your insurance company or the other party’s insurance company calls you to “discuss the accident,” contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.
An insurance settlement can be legally binding and will affect your ability to pursue legal action.
How the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart Can Help
Attorney Chuck Geerhart only works on behalf of plaintiffs like you. With over 30 years of legal experience, Chuck provides clients with the individualized attention their cases need.
As a trial veteran, Chuck is willing to take your personal injury matter to a jury if the insurance company is unwilling to settle your case reasonably.
He also has the skills to successfully guide matters to the high-value settlements his clients deserve. Contact the Law Office of Chuck Geerhart today for a case evaluation and to discuss how we can help you.