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What Should You Do When You Have Been Hit by a PA Drunk Driver?

Drunk driving accidents are unfortunately common in Pennsylvania, causing significant physical, emotional, and financial harm to victims. In 2022 in PA, drunk drivers caused a substantial percentage of the crashes reported. According to the available data from 2022, there were 7,724 incidents involving drivers impaired by alcohol. Tragically, out of these accidents, 140 resulted in fatalities.

These sobering statistics underscore the devastating impact of drunk driving and highlight the urgent need for continued efforts in education, law enforcement, and community interventions to prevent such incidents. However, you must know what to do if you are involved in an accident where a drunk driver caused you harm. We will explain the first steps of what you should do, if you can safely, immediately after an auto accident with a drunk driver.

1. Seek Medical Attention

As a DUI victim, your well-being should be your top priority. Some injuries might not be immediately apparent, even if you think you are fine directly after an accident. The first thing you need to do after a car accident is to be checked by a medical professional as soon as possible. Getting prompt medical care can prevent problems from becoming more severe and ensure you receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Additionally, medical records provide critical evidence of injuries sustained in the accident, which can significantly impact your insurance claim and any legal case you may pursue against the offender. Whether it is a first-time DUI offender or a habitual one, the law provides avenues for victims to seek compensation for medical bills incurred due to the offender’s negligent behavior. Never downplay your injuries or delay seeking medical help after such incidents because your life and health are paramount in accidents involving PA drunk drivers.

2. Report the Accident

If you have been involved in a crash with a PA drunk driver, the first step is to report the accident. Pennsylvania law requires you to report any accident that involves injury, death, or property damage. Doing so initiates the legal process and ensures the incident is officially documented. Contact the local police department immediately and wait for them to arrive at the scene. Remember to get a copy of the police report from the officer on the scene, as the information will be crucial in any legal proceedings.

Even if the drunk driver pleads with you not to involve law enforcement, remember that it is essential to prioritize your safety and legal rights. The police will conduct a preliminary investigation, which may include determining the offender’s blood alcohol content. If the driver is found to be over the legal limit, they could face DUI charges, which can lead to jail time, especially for habitual offenders or those with a subsequent offense. Reporting the accident also aids in the future ignition interlock restriction process, a new law that requires DUI offenders, including first-time DUI offenders, to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles.

3. Gather Evidence

If you can do so safely, gather as much evidence as possible from the scene. This evidence can include photographs of the vehicles and surroundings, witnesses’ contact information, details of the other driver’s vehicle and license plate, and the overall scene of the crash. If there are any eyewitnesses, you will also want to get their contact information. Documentation of the offender’s impaired driving behavior can also be valuable evidence in court.

If you have been injured or a loved one was killed due to a drunk driver, this evidence can play a pivotal role in your court case. It helps to establish the offender’s liability and could significantly impact the compensation you receive for medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. Remember, every piece of evidence can make a difference in your case.

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4. Contact Your Insurance Company

Following a collision with a PA drunk driver, contacting your insurance company as soon as possible is imperative. Be sure to provide them with all the accident details, including any information regarding the impaired driver and their blood alcohol content, if known. If the drunk driver is a first-time DUI offender or a habitual offender, this history could affect the claims process and potential compensation for property damage and injuries. Additionally, it is crucial to note that you should never apologize to the other driver or admit fault at the accident scene, as this can affect your case.

When speaking with your insurance company, be prepared to provide evidence of the incident, such as photos of the scene and damage, police reports, and witness statements. This evidence can prove the drunk or drugged driver’s negligence. Remember, even if you are a victim of a drunk driving incident, you must follow your insurer’s protocol to ensure your claim is processed correctly. Under new laws, DUI offenders, including commercial drivers, may be required to attend an alcohol highway safety school or install an ignition interlock device, which could also influence your claim. Make sure to keep all communication records with your insurance company for future reference.

5. Consult with a Lawyer

Speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible is imperative, as drunk driving cases can be complex. Details like who was driving the vehicle and what type of license they have may not be something you think about, but they are very important to your case. For example, when involved in an accident with commercial drivers, the consequences of drunk or drugged driving can be particularly severe, as their livelihood depends on maintaining a clean driving record.

It is most beneficial for you to consult with a lawyer who specializes in drunk driving accidents. They can guide you through the process, help you understand your rights, and work to ensure you receive fair compensation. In Pennsylvania, penalties for drunk driving can include prison time, fines, and license suspension. Despite these stringent laws, there are still drunk drivers. Remember, it is not just about seeking justice after the fact. Public education and awareness are key to preventing such accidents in the first place.

Have You Been Involved in a Crash with a PA Drunk Driver and Need Help Today?

If you or someone you know has been involved in a crash with a PA drunk driver, know that you are not alone. The aftermath of such an incident can be overwhelming, but remember, help is available. Taking the steps outlined above is crucial to protect your rights and ensure you receive support during this difficult time.

Seek medical attention, report the incident to the police, and consider contacting a dedicated attorney specializing in drunk driving cases at May Herr & Grosh. We can help you navigate the legal process, help you understand your options, and work diligently to seek the compensation you deserve. Remember, you do not have to go through this challenging situation alone. Contact us today to learn more.


This blog is being published for educational purposes only as well as to provide general information and a basic understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By entering this site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the publisher. This site should never be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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