Lynn, Massachusetts has evolved from the “city of sin” to a remarkable community that boasts diversity, cultural attractions, parks, ocean views, and a building renaissance. It is also a high traffic area given its close proximity to downtown Boston. Because of the traffic and a number of intersections rated as among the 200 most dangerous in the state, the city has experienced a high rate of accidents within its borders.Many of these accidents can be attributed to an increased number of motorists who text, speed, take unnecessary risks, and drink and drive.
While texting and driving as a major traffic hazard has been getting much needed attention in recent years, drunk driving remains a major factor in accident injuries and fatalities. So what do you do if you are injured in a Lynn car accident where the other driver was drinking?
What To Do If Injured
If you are in a car accident, the first thing to do is to remain calm and see how injured you are. If you have passengers, see if they have sustained any injuries as well. If a limb is broken or you feel a head injury, do not move and wait for medical assistance.
If you are seriously injured, there is little you can do at the scene other than wait for the EMT to arrive. If the other driver or passers-by ask if you are injured or need assistance, let them know but do not discuss the accident. If you able to move and exit the vehicle, you do have the obligation of exchanging driver’s license and insurance information with the other involved motorist. If you are still dazed, then wait for police to arrive.
In some cases, you may suspect the other driver was drinking. For instance, the driver is slurring his words, becoming histrionic, stumbling, has an odor of alcohol, or displays a lack of coordination. He or she also may not be making much sense. You can usually tell if someone has had too much to drink in most instances.
In any case, it is never a good idea to say anything about how the accident happened while at the scene, even if you firmly believe it was the other driver’s fault. But if police approach you initially and you suspect the other driver was drinking or under the influence of drugs, advise the officer what you observed and that you saw this person driving or exiting the driver’ s side or had admitted that he or she had been the driver.
Police will ask about your version of the accident either at the scene or hospital. It is possible that you may still be recovering from the shock and only have a vague idea of what occurred. If you are able, give a description to the police officer about where you were coming from, your destination, the street you were on, the speed of your and the other vehicle, and when the other vehicle appeared. You can certainly advise the officer that you can give a more detailed description at a later time.
Other things to do include:
- Take photographs of the property damage to both vehicles and of the accident scene
- Take a photo of the other vehicle and its license plate
- If possible, take a photograph of the other driver, which could show his or her intoxicated state. A video can show this more vividly. If you think the other driver was under the influence, then a video could provide strong evidence.
- Ask if witnesses saw the accident occur and obtain their identifying information
- Get medical attention for yourself–do not refuse medical attention at the scene if you feel at all injured as head and some other injuries do not always manifest symptoms until hours or even days later
- Call your insurance agent
- Contact a personal injury lawyer
DUI and Liability
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense and jail time may be imposed for offenders along with a variety of other criminal and civil penalties. Drinking and certain drugs impair judgment and reaction time and often cause drivers to take unnecessary risks or to lose control of their vehicles. Thousands of persons are killed on our nation’s highways each year as a direct result of drunk or drugged driving.
If the other driver in your accident is arrested and convicted of DUI, it is usually a good indicator that the driver was liable for the accident. However, this is not necessarily the case. You still have the burden of proving that the other party was at fault. For instance, did the motorist drive through a stop sign or red light? If instead you were observed to have done so, then the fact that the other driver was intoxicated but was otherwise obeying the traffic laws is of no benefit to your claim.
It is possible, but unlikely, that the liable driver who drove under the influence will have his or her coverage denied. Insurance companies will deny coverage for intentional acts that harm another person. For instance, if the drunk driver exited his vehicle and assaulted you, his insurance will not cover him for the damage or harm caused by that act. Otherwise, the defendant’s insurer will generally their insured for damages caused in the accident.
However, you are not given additional compensation because the other party was intoxicated and caused your injuries. You are entitled to compensation based on the nature and extent of your injuries and not on the bad conduct or behavior of the other party.
Punitive damages are sometimes sought in DUI cases. In Massachusetts, however, you are only entitled to such damages if the other party’s conduct was determined to be grossly negligent, reckless and a willful and wanton disregard for your safety. Also, the injured party must have suffered fatal injuries. If so, then the administrator for the decedent’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.
Damages in a Lynn Car Accident
Damages in a car accident depend on the seriousness of your injury, reasonableness of your medical treatment and costs, missed time from work, possible loss of earning capacity, emotional trauma, likelihood of future treatment, and effect on your daily living activities.
Damages typically include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future income loss
- Emotional trauma
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium
Retain the Law Office of Deborah Gold-Alexander
Few car accident injury claims are clear cut, nor is reasonable compensation for your injuries easy to obtain. It is essential that you retain a trusted and reliable car accident lawyer for a Lynn car accident at the earliest time possible so as to preserve evidence and avoid costly mistakes. With over 30-years of experience, Deborah Gold-Alexander will give your claim the time and dedication you deserve so that you or your loved one can receive reasonable compensation. Call her today for an analysis of your injury claim.