Being involved in a car accident is always a stressful experience, but even more so when the other driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs or appears to be aggressive and hostile.
When you encounter an impaired or belligerent driver, it can be very scary and dangerous to communicate with them. Unfortunately, situations like these are not uncommon in Florida, which is why you should learn how to deal with drunk, high, or aggressive drivers at the scene of the crash.
If you were involved in a car crash in Florida, schedule a free consultation with our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys to help you deal with the other party involved in the collision, their lawyer, and the insurance company.
What to do after a car accident?
Follow these tips if you were involved in a car crash, regardless of whether the other driver is impaired or sober, hostile or friendly:
- Get to a safe location by pulling your car to the side of the road;
- Check for injuries and make sure that everyone in your car is fine;
- Dial 911 to report the accident;
- Seek medical attention (it’s better to be on the safe side and get checked out by a doctor even if you feel okay in the moment);
- Gather all available evidence at the scene of your accident by taking pictures and recording videos with your smartphone;
- Talk to witnesses and get their names and contact information;
- Obtain contact and insurance information from all parties involved in the collision; and
- Talk to the responding police officer. If you suspect that the other driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, inform the officer of your suspicion. If the police do not arrive, go to the nearest police station or online to file a police report.
After the accident, it is essential to contact an experienced car accident lawyer to protect your legal rights and help ensure that you are compensated for your injuries and financial losses.
How to recognize signs of a drunk or high driver?
If you believe that the other driver involved in the accident is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, look for the following signs of impairment:
- Slurred speech
- Watery or bloodshot eyes
- The odor of alcohol on the breath
- The odor of marijuana inside the vehicle
- Confusion or disorientation
- Delayed reaction time
- Stumbling or inability to stand still or walk
- Poor hand-eye coordination
If you notice any of these signs, you might be dealing with a drunk or drugged (stoned) motorist. So what’s the best way to communicate with these unpredictable drivers while maintaining your own safety?
How to deal with a drunk, high, or aggressive driver?
It’s vital to call 911 right away and wait for the police. Drunk and high drivers may get aggressive and hostile after a car accident, which is why you should limit your conversation with the other driver.
It’s never a good idea to confront a motorist who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They may respond aggressively, putting you and your passengers at risk of bodily injury.
Be polite with the motorist who appears to be drunk or stoned, and avoid blaming them for the accident even if the fault is obvious. Accusing such drivers of being impaired may cause them to become aggressive or even attempt to flee the scene of the crash. If they do flee the scene, do not attempt to chase after them. Remain at the scene to talk to witnesses and gather important evidence.
When the police arrive, they will observe the motorist. If they believe that the driver is under the influence, they may perform roadside sobriety or breathalyzer tests. The driver may be arrested if they refuse to take the test or the test shows that they are impaired.
What happens after the impaired driver is arrested?
The impaired driver will face criminal penalties for driving under the influence, and their criminal conviction will serve as a key piece of evidence in your insurance claim or injury lawsuit against the driver if you wish to sue them for damages.
Under Section 627.7407, Florida Statutes, you must file a claim with your own insurance company first if you were injured in a car accident. This is known as the Florida no-fault system.
However, you may be able to step outside the no-fault system in Florida and sue the impaired driver if you suffered a serious injury and your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage ($10,000) is not enough to pay for your damages.
Discuss your options with a West Palm Beach car accident attorney
Just because the impaired driver who caused your car crash was convicted of DUI does not necessarily mean that you will be fairly compensated for your injury and losses.
Therefore, it’s important to hire a knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach to help you obtain maximum compensation either through an insurance company or through a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk, high, or aggressive driver.
Our West Palm Beach car accident attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, P.A., can help you seek compensation for damages including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle or other damaged personal property
- Pain and suffering (under Section 768.72, Florida Statutes, injured accident victims can recover punitive damages when the defendant’s conduct was reckless, such as driving under the influence)
Discuss your case with our injury lawyers 561-845-2510 at Fetterman & Associates, P.A., during a free consultation to determine the best approach for pursuing maximum compensation if you were injured in a car crash caused by a drunk, high, or aggressive Florida driver.