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The Holiday Season and Drunk Driving

| Apr 18, 2016 | Firm News

The holiday season is upon us again. Every year, Californians travel throughout the state and across the country to visit with their loved ones. These visits often involve gifts, special meals, and for many, alcohol. Statistically, drivers are at a higher risk of being injured or killed in collisions with drunk drivers during the winter holiday season than they are during other times of year. If you have been involved in a California accident caused by a drunk driver, consider filing a personal injury claim with help from an experienced San Diego automobile accident attorney to recover compensation for your losses, such as your medical bills, your missed wages, and other expenses that arise from your injury.

Stay Safe this Holiday Season

In 2014, 867 people died in alcohol-related collisions in California. This figure represents 28.9 percent of all traffic deaths recorded in the state that year. In addition to fatalities, drunk driving can lead to life-altering injuries for the driver and any others involved in a collision with him or her.

Keep yourself and those you love safe this holiday season by doing your part to keep drunk drivers off the road. Although you cannot control the choices of those beyond your immediate circle, you can certainly choose not to drink and drive yourself and keep your friends and relatives from driving drunk as well.

The best way to protect yourself and others from driving drunk is offering to be the designated sober driver. Choose not to drink at a party and instead, offer rides to those who do imbibe. You can ensure that you and them make it home safely this way.

Another way to avoid drinking and driving is to make use of public transportation and rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber.

If you are hosting a holiday gathering, allow guests who choose to drink to stay overnight. If anybody becomes intoxicated and wants to leave, offer to call a cab or a rideshare for him or her. Under no circumstances should you allow a drunk guest to drive away from your party.

If you are Involved in an Accident with a Drunk Driver

If you are involved in an accident, whether the other driver was drunk or not, remove your car from the roadway if it is safe to do so. The next step is to check on all other parties involved in the accident and if somebody is in critical condition, call for emergency medical services.

Have a police officer sent to the scene to file an official police report. This police report, along with photographs of the accident scene, the contact information for all witnesses to the accident, and the other driver’s insurance information, is an important piece of evidence for your personal injury claim. Do not leave the scene of the accident without a copy of it and the other pieces of evidence discussed above.

Always Put your Health and Safety First

When you are involved in a car accident, it is important that you receive appropriate medical care as soon as possible for your injury. If you or any other party involved in your accident are in need of emergency medical attention, call 911 to have emergency medical personnel sent to the scene immediately. Otherwise, get yourself to the doctor in a timely manner following your accident to ensure that you receive an accurate diagnosis of your injury.

Receiving a diagnosis and appropriate treatment for your injury in a timely manner can help you and your claim in three distinct ways:

  • By receiving treatment soon after you are injured, you can make it easier to make a full recovery. Many injuries become worse as they are left untreated – reduce your need for additional medical treatment and recovery time by being proactive about getting the medical care you need;
  • When you submit your personal injury claim to the insurance provider, providing evidence that you sought medical care shortly after you were injured can work in your favor. The insurance adjuster will see this and note that you were in enough pain to warrant a trip to the doctor and that you are serious about making a recovery; and
  • When you file a personal injury claim, you are bound by California’s statute of limitations, which is two years from the date of your injury. This might sound like a long time, but it is easy to lose the right to file a personal injury claim by allowing the statute of limitations to expire.

Even if you do not feel injured or your injury appears to be minor, go for a medical examination to receive an opinion from your doctor. Your doctor might be able to detect an injury that you cannot and treat it before it becomes more severe.

Work with an Experienced Attorney

If you have been injured in a collision caused by a drunk driver, work with an experienced San Diego car accident attorney to file a personal injury claim and get the money you need to cover your losses. Contact our team at Martinez & Schill LLP today to schedule your initial legal consultation with us. We can answer your questions and provide you with the guidance you need to make well-informed decisions about your claim as you work toward your compensation settlement.