What Should I Do if I Am in a Car Accident with a Drunk Driver in Massachusetts?
After a crash with a drunk driver, there are many steps you should take to protect yourself and your rights. Especially if you were injured in the accident, you should act quickly to secure information that can help build a case. Our Massachusetts drunk driving victim attorneys explain.
After a crash with a drunk driver in Massachusetts, call the police. They can not only help protect you if the drunk driver is dangerous, but they can make arrests and collect blood-alcohol concentration info on the drunk driver. You should also take steps to collect other evidence at the scene of the accident and then call a lawyer.
For help with your injury case, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today at (617) 925-6407. Our Massachusetts personal injury attorneys represent victims of car crashes throughout the Commonwealth. Call to get started with a free case evaluation.
Calling the Police After a Drunk Driving Accident in Massachusetts
Calling the police is the first step you should always take after an accident, especially a drunk driving accident. If you suspect that the other driver was intoxicated, having a police response to the crash can help in a few major ways – some specific to DUI (driving under the influence) cases, and some common to all car accident cases.
When you call 911 and police respond to the crash, they will be able to secure the scene and help everyone remain safe. The police can help redirect traffic around the scene of the crash, preventing a second accident and giving you room to move around and take photos. Police also usually arrive with ambulances, so calling 911 will help you get the medical care you need as well as the police presence.
If the other driver was drunk enough to be belligerent or angry with you after the crash, the police can also help protect you. Calling the police also prevents the drunk driver from getting back into their car and driving away after exchanging information. that could put additional people at risk if they drove off while still intoxicated.
Collecting evidence that the driver was drunk will be essential to building your case against the drunk driver. The police can collect evidence that you, as a civilian, might not have the authorization to collect or training to use in a court case.
Police can use portable/preliminary breath tests (PBTs), field sobriety tests (FSTs), and blood tests or other chemical testing to help confirm a driver was drunk. Police are also trained in how to perform these tests and recognize signs of intoxication.
As a civilian, you probably do not have the training to administer a PBT or FSTs after a crash. Any evidence you can collect about the driver’s drunkenness – such as slurred speech, the odor of alcohol on their breath, etc. – can also be challenged if you do not have official training in recognizing those signs of intoxication.
Having a police officer testify about the driver’s DUI status and provide scientific evidence of their BAC can help you prove your case.
If the drunk driver is arrested and charged with a DUI or DWI offense, those criminal charges can help with your civil case. When criminal charges are filed, that does not stop you from suing in civil court for the injuries you faced from the same criminal activity. This allows you to get compensation from the drunk driver that caused your crash rather than relying on restitution from their criminal case.
If the police and prosecutors successfully prove the criminal case against the driver who hit you, you can use that to help with your civil case. Criminal cases have a higher burden of proof than civil injury cases, so winning a criminal case usually means you can win the civil case, too. Additionally, any confessions or admissions the defendant makes can be used in your civil case as well.
The police will also write up a report when they respond to any car accident. Your car accident lawyers can use this report to help build your accident case. You will also be able to find information in this report about whether the police thought the driver was drunk, and it may help you track down things like test results that show the driver’s BAC.
What Evidence to Collect After Being Hit in a DUI Accident in Massachusetts
At the scene of the accident, there is some information and evidence you should take steps to collect. If you are too injured and needed to go directly to the hospital, do not worry about collecting this evidence now – just worry about your recovery. Your Boston car accident lawyers can track down police reports and follow up with the authorities about some of this information later.
Other Driver’s Info
You need to know who hit you to be able to file a lawsuit or insurance claim against them. Get the other driver’s contact information and insurance information. Ask the police for this info if you are afraid the other driver is too intoxicated or you feel unsafe asking them directly.
Admissions to Drunk Driving
If you ask the other driver whether they’ve had anything to drink and they specifically admit to drinking and driving, you can usually use that against them in court. Ask if they’ve been drinking and try to get information about how much they drank and how long ago that was if they do admit to it.
If they say they just came from a bar or restaurant, get the name of that establishment as well. Sometimes drunk driving cases can be filed against the bar that overserved the drunk driver under the Massachusetts Dram Shop law.
Signs of Intoxication
If you have experience around drunk people from parties or previous jobs waiting tables, you might already know what signs of intoxication to look for in a drunk person. Any of the following signs can help show someone was drunk, so look for any of these signs and take notes on what you saw:
- Slurred speech
- Odor of alcohol on the breath
- Slow movements
- Slow responses
- Glassy eyes
- Staggering or stumbling
- Trouble retrieving ID or insurance card
- Presence of opened or empty alcohol containers in car
Call a Massachusetts DUI Victim Attorney
If you were hurt in a crash involving a drunk driver, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan’s Cambridge car accident injury attorneys today. Contact us at (617) 925-6407 for a free case evaluation.