You’ve probably heard about the dangers of driving on Thanksgiving. After the big meal, roads often fill up with people driving back home. Or, in recent years, to camp out at their store of choice to make sure they’re first in line for Black Friday deals.
These are people likely to be feeling a bit drowsy from all the food. Not to mention the fact that many of them have probably had one too many alcoholic beverages. The night after Thanksgiving can be a scary time to be on the road.
However, the night before may be even more dangerous.
You may not have heard yet, but the night before the big feast has gotten the notorious nickname of “Blackout Wednesday.” Why? Quite simply, because of all the people who end up getting blackout drunk.
If you’re out at the bars on Blackout Wednesday, you’ll probably see a lot of college kids back to see their hometown friends, or adults who would rather not think about what the conversation at the dinner table will be like with their extended family the next day. Unfortunately, all of these people have to head home eventually, and many end up driving themselves.
All that drunk driving means more traffic fatalities on the road. In fact, hundreds of people are killed by drunk drivers every year on Blackout Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day.
If You Are Hit By a Drunk Driver
If you go out Thanksgiving Eve, make sure you have a designated driver and take the right steps to avoid a DUI accident. Unfortunately, even if your designated driver sticks to their promises all night, obeys all traffic laws, and your crew is respectful as passengers, you still run the risk of getting into an accident with a drunk driver.
Use the following tips to give yourself and everyone with you the best chance at staying safe and getting the compensation you deserve if an accident does occur due to another driver’s negligence.
Be Extra Cautious Out on the Road
It’s not easy after a few drinks, but make sure everyone in your car is wearing their seat belt and isn’t doing anything to distract your driver. If the driver needs directions, make sure they hand their phone or navigation system to a passenger. Also make sure your driver isn’t speeding or running any red lights.
If your damages exceed what your insurance can cover, you may have to take your case to court. Taking all of the above precautions will reduce any arguments the drunk driver could have regarding your level of fault in the accident.
Call the Police
For the most part, you want to treat this accident like any other accident, documenting evidence and getting all information you need. In addition to this, though, make sure everyone sticks around until the police arrive.
You’re always supposed to call the cops, but in a typical fender bender this is a step that many people understandably skip. You can’t do that if drunk driving is involved, and you don’t want to. Making sure the other driver gets a chemical test is key to proving that they were intoxicated at the time of the accident.
See a Doctor Quickly
Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner if you can, but be sure to get checked out by a doctor within the next two weeks so you can file a claim for the appropriate amount of medical bills. Your personal injury protection will only cover you if you seek medical treatment within 14 days of your accident.
For claims of under $10,000, you can receive compensation regardless of whether you or the other driver in the accident were consuming alcohol. If you sustain permanent injuries or your injuries exceed $10,000, however, the other driver’s BAC will definitely come into play. Their insurance company will be more willing to make a fair settlement offer if that means they can avoid a DUI lawsuit.
Meet with a Florida Auto Accident Lawyer. After an accident, a personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you need for any damages and losses you may have suffered at the hands of a drunk driver.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 15-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The Injury Law Firm of South Florida, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.