What to Do If You Get Hit by a Drunk Driver

Drunk driving accidents can be traumatic and life-altering experiences. Knowing what to do if you get hit by a drunk driver is critical to ensuring that you stay safe and your rights are protected.

If you or someone you love was involved in a car crash with a drunk driver, the first thing you should do is make sure everyone at the scene is safe. Call 911 and report the accident if it is an emergency. If not, it’s advisable to seek medical attention anyway, because car crash injuries sometimes are not apparent immediately after a crash.

After everyone is safe, there are a few important steps you should take to ensure your rights are protected. You may be eligible for compensation, so it’s important to document evidence if you’re able and speak with a skilled Missouri car crash attorney. You can contact the car crash attorneys at Niemeyer, Grebel and Kruse at 314-241-1919 for a free case review.

Immediate actions after a drunk driving accident

The moments following a drunk driving accident can be chaotic and overwhelming. It’s important to remain calm and prioritize safety for yourself and others involved. After making sure everyone else is safe, your ability to receive compensation for your injuries and damages significantly depends on the actions you take immediately after the accident.

Contact emergency services as soon as possible. When the police arrive, they will. As the police report and any blood alcohol tests conducted will serve as vital evidence in both civil and criminal proceedings against the intoxicated driver, it’s important to report the accident to the police. When pursuing reimbursement for both economic and non-economic losses, the assessment of damages incurred during the accident remains crucial.

Securing the services of experienced car accident attorneys can greatly assist in obtaining the necessary financial assistance to facilitate your full recovery after a drunk driving accident.

Contacting emergency Services

Before anything else, prioritize safety and legal compliance:

  1. Ensure Safety – First, ensure your safety and that of any passengers. Move to a safe location if possible without leaving the scene.
  2. Call 911 – As soon as it’s safe, call 911. Reporting the accident is legally required in Missouri if it results in injury, death or significant property damage. Inform the dispatcher if you suspect the other driver is under the influence.
  3. Wait for Help – Stay at the scene until emergency services arrive. Leaving can be construed as a hit-and-run, which is a serious offense in Missouri.

Gathering information

Once you have ensured everyone’s safety and contacted emergency services, the next step is to gather essential information:

  1. Exchange Information – Obtain the other driver’s name, contact details, insurance information, and vehicle registration details. Missouri law requires drivers involved in an accident to exchange this information.
  2. Witness Details – If there are witnesses, get their names and contact information. Witness accounts can be invaluable for your claim.
  3. Law Enforcement Report – When the police arrive, they will file an accident report. Obtain the officer’s name, badge number and ask how you can get a copy of the report. In Missouri, this report can be crucial for insurance and legal proceedings.

Documenting the accident scene

With the immediate emergency handled and information exchanged, it’s important to thoroughly document the scene:

  1. Take Photos – Use your smartphone to take pictures of the vehicles, road conditions, traffic signs and any injuries. These images can provide critical evidence.
  2. Note Your Observations – Write down or record your recollection of the accident as soon as possible. Include time, weather conditions, and any erratic behavior observed in the other driver.
  3. Seek Medical Attention – Even if you feel fine, get a medical check-up immediately. Some injuries are not immediately apparent. Documenting your injuries is vital for any claim.

Understanding Missouri’s drunk driving laws

Missouri’s laws regarding drunk driving are stringent and are designed to penalize offenders severely while providing protections and rights to the victims. Knowing these laws helps in understanding the consequences for the drivers and the options available for the victims.

Legal consequences for drunk drivers

In Missouri, the legal repercussions for drunk driving, or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), are strict and escalate with the severity of the offense. The state enforces a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08% for drivers over 21 years old, 0.04% for commercial drivers, and any detectable amount for drivers under 21.

Penalties for first-time offenders can include up to six months in jail, fines up to $500 and a 90-day license suspension. Repeat offenders or those involved in serious accidents face harsher penalties, including longer jail sentences, higher fines and extended license suspensions.

Additionally, Missouri law may require the installation of an ignition interlock device in the vehicles of repeat offenders or those caught with high BAC levels, ensuring they cannot operate the vehicle if they have been drinking.

Victim’s rights and compensation

Victims of drunk driving accidents in Missouri have several avenues to seek justice and compensation. They are entitled to file personal injury claims against the at-fault driver, which can cover a range of damages including medical expenses, lost wages and compensation for pain and suffering.

Given that Missouri follows an at-fault insurance system, victims can also file claims with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. In situations where the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, victims may resort to their own insurance policies for compensation.

Legal assistance plays a critical role in these situations. Law firms like Niemeyer, Grebel and Kruse, with expertise in drunk driving cases, can provide invaluable guidance. These legal professionals are equipped to navigate the complexities of the legal system, handle negotiations with insurance companies and ensure the victim’s interests are adequately represented and compensated.

Building a strong personal injury case

Several crucial steps are involved in building a strong personal injury case after a drunk driving accident in Missouri. Proving negligence, collecting evidence and working with an experienced car accident lawyer are all essential components of a successful case. By following these steps and ensuring your case is as strong as possible, you increase the likelihood of receiving the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.

Proving negligence

A critical aspect of building a strong personal injury case is proving the drunk driver’s negligence in a drunk driving accident. In order to prove negligence, you must demonstrate that the intoxicated driver’s actions were the direct cause of your injuries and losses. In Missouri, this typically involves showing that:

  1. The defendant owed a duty of care to others on the road
  2. The defendant breached that duty by driving under the influence of alcohol
  3. The defendant’s drunk driving directly caused the accident or injury
  4. The accident or injury resulted in actual damages to the plaintiff

Alcohol impairment is a major factor in determining fault in a Missouri drunk driving accident. According to Missouri law, an impaired driver is automatically liable for any injuries caused by their impaired driving. Licensed alcohol vendors can also be held accountable for injuries if they served alcohol to someone who was visibly intoxicated, potentially leading to drunk driving crashes.

Collecting evidence

Evidence such as police reports, medical records and witness statements can be used to corroborate the incident. Police reports are particularly important, as they provide valuable evidence that can help establish fault and provide details about the accident, such as the location, date and time.

Police reports may include witness statements, which can support the claim, and information about the drunk driver’s behavior, such as their BAC at the time of the accident.

Medical records also play an important role in a DUI case by providing evidence of the defendant’s blood alcohol level.

Working with a car accident lawyer

When selecting a car accident lawyer in Missouri, it is important to consider their experience, knowledge, track record and communication skills. A skilled car accident lawyer in Missouri can assist with drunk driving cases by providing an aggressive approach to pursuing compensatory and punitive damages, gathering evidence to demonstrate that the driver was alcohol-impaired, and ensuring that state prosecutors take into account the concerns of the accident victims and their families prior to agreeing to DUI charges.

If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident in Missouri, it is crucial to seek the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. The attorney can help you with the following:

  • Navigate the complex legal process
  • Gather the necessary evidence to support your case
  • Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to secure a fair settlement
  • Help you pursue any additional legal options that may be available to you, such as filing a lawsuit against the drunk driver or the establishment that served them alcohol

By working with a skilled car accident lawyer, you can increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. Don’t wait to seek legal help – the sooner you act, the better your chances of securing a favorable outcome in your case.

Navigating insurance claims and settlements

It’s important to remember that insurance companies are not always on your side. They may attempt to minimize or deny your claim, so it’s essential to be cautious and vigilant when dealing with them.

By working with a skilled car accident attorney, you can navigate the complex process of seeking compensation and ensure your rights are protected.

Communicating with insurance companies

It’s important to be cautious and prepared when communicating with insurance companies after a drunk driving accident in Missouri. Insurance companies may employ tactics such as:

  • Delaying the claims process
  • Repeatedly requesting additional documentation
  • Utilizing the victim’s words against them
  • Shifting blame to the accident victim
  • Downplaying injuries to minimize or deny claims

To protect your interests, it’s advisable to engage an attorney to manage communication on your behalf and ensure you don’t inadvertently harm your case.

Contact your insurance company promptly after the accident, but be cautious of any attempts to minimize or deny your claim. Provide accurate and concise information and avoid furnishing superfluous details that may be used against you.

Remember, your primary goal is to receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages, and clear communication with the insurance company is a crucial part of this process.

Evaluating settlement offers

An important part of the insurance claims process is evaluating settlement offers. Before accepting any offer from the drunk driver’s insurer, it’s essential to ensure that the compensation adequately covers all of your losses, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Any other damages you may have incurred

An experienced car accident attorney can help you assess the fairness of a settlement offer and negotiate on your behalf to secure a satisfactory amount of compensation.

It’s also important to remember that you have the right to pursue additional legal options if the settlement offer is not satisfactory. This may include filing a lawsuit against the drunk driver or the establishment that served them alcohol, as well as pursuing a claim with your own insurance company under any uninsured motorist coverage you may have in place.

Pursuing additional legal options

To obtain full compensation for your injuries and damages, it may be necessary in some cases to pursue additional legal options. This could include:

  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the establishment that served them alcohol
  • Making a claim with your own insurance company
  • Recovering compensation through uninsured motorist coverage

Missouri’s Dram Shop Law allows victims to pursue legal action against establishments that serve visibly intoxicated customers. This law does not extend to liquor stores or grocery stores, but it can provide an additional avenue for victims to seek compensation for their injuries and damages.

Get Comprehensive Legal Support Today

Don’t hesitate to seek comprehensive legal support if you or a loved one has been involved in a drunk driving accident in Missouri.

Niemeyer, Grebel and Kruse, a trusted St. Louis personal injury firm, can help you navigate the complex process of seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.

Call 341-241-1919 today for a free consultation.

Free Case Evaluation

    Practice Areas


    $1.8 Billion: Yaz Birth Control MDL

    $1.8 Billion: As National Lead Counsel for the MDL, NGK Law negotiated, coordinated, and administered the national litigation and settlement of the Yaz birth control litigation. This litigation involved women that sustained injuries, including blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, and deep vein thrombosis, as a result of the birth control Yaz.

    $745,000,000.00: Wrongful Death

    Jury verdict: Jury verdict in St. Louis, Missouri against the distributor of Whip-It’s nitrous oxide after a 20 year old passed out after using them and crashed into a building, killing a 25 year old woman.

    $650,000,000.00: Pradaxa MDL

    $650,000,000.00: As National Liaison Counsel for the MDL, NGK Law negotiated, coordinated, and administered the national settlement of the Pradaxa blood thinner litigation. Clients sustained injuries, including internal bleeding, as a result of the dangerous medication.

    $23,071,000.00: Product Liability

    A 9 month old boy suffered a severe traumatic brain injury due to a defective component on a boat.

    Gladys R.
    Kindness, thoughtfulness and patience

    I really appreciated Dave’s kindness and thoughtfulness and especially his patience with me throughout my lawsuit.
    Lou P.
    Helped me through the process

    Initially, I was reluctant to bring a lawsuit. But Dave answered all of my questions and helped me through the process. I really appreciate all he did to get me what I deserved.
    Matthew G.
    I only recommend NGK anytime

    Very responsive and they help you in any way they can. Micheal Kruz has handled many cases for me and he is very professional and will fight for you every time. I only recommend NGK anytime.
    Dianne C.
    Very professional and friendly!

    This group is great! Very professional and friendly! It was a pleasant experience dealing with these folks! Give them a call! If they can’t be of help, they know someone who can! 😊
    Larry S.
    Far exceeded my most optimistic expectations

    Efficient, effective, have to say they far exceeded my most optimistic expectations. You are doing yourself a disservice if you do not use there services!
    John P.
    Excellent law firm

    NGK is an excellent mass tort and personal injury law firm. Highly recommend.
    David F.

    Proficient and stands up to Big Insurance.