Can I Sue a Drunk Driver Who Hit Me?

Can I Sue a Drunk Driver Who Hit Me?On our roads, there are quite a few drivers who end up causing accidents because they choose to get behind the wheel after drinking—and it happens far too frequently. Unfortunately, the damage they can do is also pretty severe.

According to The Journal Record, “Oklahoma reported 145 deaths in 2021 attributable to drunk driving; 21 of those who died were under the age of 21. Oklahoma’s rate of excessive drinking is estimated at 14.1%, and 26.4% of driving fatalities were attributed to excessive drinking.” If you’re someone who got hurt because of a drunk driver, you should contact an Oklahoma City attorney who focuses on helping  drunk driving victims. There’s a real chance that you might be able to get compensation to help you in getting better and moving forward with your life.

It’s really important to know that even though things might be tough, the law is there to help people who have been hurt in a drunk driving accident. Clarifying any doubts about our title question, the answer is a strong yes. Yes, you have the legal right to sue a drunk driver for the physical and mental injuries they have inflicted upon you in a car accident. While the complexities of the legal system might seem daunting, they are designed to ensure that those who have suffered due to another’s negligence are provided avenues to seek compensation and hold wrongdoers accountable.

You may also be able to sue the bar for over-serving

Now, let’s talk about something called “dram shop laws.” These are rules that make sure bars and places that serve alcohol are careful about how much they give to people. If someone drinks too much at a bar and then causes an accident, these laws can sometimes make the bar share some of the blame.

When you’re thinking about suing a bar because they over-served someone who caused an accident, a few things are important:

  • Gathering proof. Our attorneys will look for proof that a driver was overserved. This can include gathering witness statements, reviewing security footage (or cell phone footage), checking receipts associated with the drunk driver, and more.
  • Proving liability. Once we can prove that the bar overserved a visibly intoxicated (or underage) patron, we must then show that the accident was a result of those actions in order to establish liability. We do this by recreating the events of the accident to show an insurance company or a jury how the crash occurred, and how it could have been avoided had the bar not overserved the patron.

Two things to note:

  1. This law also applies to convenience stores or other establishments that sell alcohol for use off-site. In other words, if an already-intoxicated  driver buys a six pack, drinks it, and then causes a crash, that retailer can be held liable.
  2. Any establishment can be held liable if the patron/customer is under the age of 21, regardless of whether that person is noticeably intoxicated or not.

What to do if you’re hit by a drunk driver in Oklahoma City

If you’re involved in a drunk driving accident in Oklahoma City and you get hurt, here’s what you should do right away:

  • Seek medical attention. Call 9-1-1 and ask for an ambulance. If you’re injured, it’s important to get help from doctors or paramedics. They can make sure you’re okay and give you the right treatment. Your safety and health come first. Plus, getting your medical treatment documented will only help your case later on, so make sure to attend all follow-up consultations.
  • Call the police. If you don’t need an ambulance, then make sure to call the police. They’ll come to the scene and make a report. This report can be really helpful later when dealing with insurance and legal matters.
  • Share information. You should exchange information with the other driver. This means giving each other details like names, phone numbers, and insurance information. Don’t feel the need to speak with the driver about anything else; just get this information and then stop talking.
  • Take photos. Taking pictures of the accident scene, the damage to the cars, and any injuries you have can be really useful, because this evidence can disappear quickly, and bruises can fade over time. Make a list of the names of any witnesses, too; we can talk with them about what happened.

The role of insurance in a drunk driving accident

First things first: if you have MedPay as part of your coverage, you can use that coverage for your immediate medical bills while we negotiate with the insurance company. It doesn’t matter who is ultimately found at fault for the collision; you can ALWAYS use your MedPay coverage.

Second: if you are a victim of a hit-and-run, or if the driver who hit you is uninsured or underinsured, you can make a claim with your own auto insurance company, provided you have UM/UIM coverage.

Finally: after you report your accident to your insurance company, let us take over all communications with your insurer. When you’re hurt and you’re frightened and you cannot work, the insurance company’s offer probably seems like a good one: you need money, and their settlement is a sure thing. but we can guarantee you that no insurance company is going to offer a fair amount right off the bat, because they know you’re scared. Your own insurer may not deal straight with you, either. Let us help.

How an Oklahoma City car accident attorney can help

When you’re hurt in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, it’s a good idea to reach out to one of our personal injury lawyers for help. We know a lot about the rules and laws that apply when someone gets hurt because of someone else’s mistakes. Having a lawyer is important because we will guide you through the legal process. We know exactly how to navigate this maze and will make sure everything is done the right way. Sometimes, accidents can also be really confusing, and insurance companies might not want to pay for everything. An Oklahoma City car accident lawyer from Cunningham & Mears can make sure your rights are protected and that you get treated fairly.

When we start working on your case, we’ll collect a variety of information to make a strong argument for your side. Some of that includes:

  • Details of the accident
  • Medical records
  • Eyewitnesses
  • Police reports
  • Photos and videos
  • Experts’ opinions

At Cunningham & Mears, we’re here to help you with every step of your accident claim. Our experienced attorneys will work with investigators, the police, and insurance adjusters to determine how an accident happened and who is responsible. If you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, we’re ready to fight for you. For a free consultation about your case, call our office or submit our contact form today.