Getting into a car accident can be very upsetting and stressful to deal with. While accidents of any kind can happen even to the most experienced drivers, those that choose to drive under the influence are much more susceptible to causing injury or death in an auto accident. Knowing what to do when a driver causes a DUI accident resulting in the death of another person is incredibly important in these serious situations.
Steps To Take After A Deadly DUI Accident
Those who choose to drive under the influence of alcohol or other substances cause great risk to others on the road. The state of Pennsylvania is no stranger to this poor behavior either, as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced in May this year that statewide traffic deaths increased from 1,129 in 2020 to 1,230 in 2021. Of these roadway fatalities, 450 occurred in crashes involving impaired drivers in 2021. Impaired driving fatalities in the state remain high, accounting for more than 35 percent of all driver fatalities in 2021 alone.
Unfortunately, far too many families have had to deal with the aftermath of a DUI accident resulting in the death of a loved one. When these devastating incidents happen, those responsible should be held accountable for their negligent actions. In addition, families can face many unexpected medical bills and funeral expenses. The impact of these and other financial losses could be extremely significant if the victim was the primary breadwinner of the household. This can leave many families concerned about paying bills and supporting themselves for the foreseeable future. While these and other concerns are important to address as soon as possible, there are a few things families can do in the meantime to help ensure they can recover the funds they need and hold the responsible parties accountable, including:
Contact the authorities and gather as much information as possible
After a fatal car accident, one of the first steps to take is to contact the authorities. By calling 911, the authorities will be able to dispatch any needed emergency medical services and law enforcement. When the police arrive, the officers will begin to create a report of the accident which will establish whether the driver that caused the accident was indeed over the legal alcohol limit or otherwise operating their vehicle under the influence. This is because the police are needed to determine whether the at-fault driver was impaired by alcohol or drugs. Police are trained and legally authorized to perform field sobriety tests, conduct breathalyzer tests, and/or take a suspect for blood or urine testing.
While emotions can run high in the aftermath of a fatal auto accident, the priority should be the safety of any others who may have been affected. The scene of the crash may pose ongoing dangers, such as crashed vehicles being struck again by other vehicles before the authorities arrive. These secondary collisions are incredibly common and can sometimes make the original wreck much more serious. Because of this, individuals involved in the accident and witnesses should not stand between the two damaged vehicles. Other potential post-crash hazards can include vehicle fires and/or the collapse of other structures damaged by the car accident.
All parties involved in a car accident should remain at the scene unless staying there poses a significant risk to their safety or welfare or if they need emergency medical assistance. This includes the person who caused the DUI accident. During this time, all those affected should gather as much information as possible, including the names, vehicle registration, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information of everyone involved. Unfortunately, however, the person who caused the drunk driving accident may attempt to flee the scene before police arrive, especially if they are driving under the influence. If this happens, others should note as many details about the intoxicated driver’s vehicle as possible and even try to take a photo or video of the vehicle on their smartphones. This includes noting the make and model of the vehicle, its color, and the license plate state and number.
Contact a personal injury attorney
From the driver to the establishment that overserved them, various parties could be responsible for a DUI accident resulting in death. That’s why it’s crucial to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. While the intoxicated driver is likely to be arrested and face criminal consequences, including vehicular manslaughter charges for their negligence, they can also be held financially accountable for the injuries, death, and property damage they caused.
Under Pennsylvania’s No-Fault Auto Insurance Act, even if an intoxicated driver caused a DUI accident, each driver’s insurance company is required to pay for any medical bills and lost wages up to the policy’s no-fault limits. However, if medical bills and lost wages exceed these limits, victims and their loved ones have the right to recover those costs, as well as the cost of pain and suffering and other related damages from the person who caused the fatal car accident.
DUI Car Accident Lawyers
When a DUI accident causes the death of a loved one, it can be life-changing and devastating. These incidents must be treated with the utmost care and concern as victims attempt to hold those responsible accountable. At SMT Legal, Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome and to get the maximum compensation you deserve. If you or someone you know was involved in a DUI accident that resulted in the death of a loved one, contact our Pittsburgh car accident attorneys to discuss your case.