You were driving home when you saw an unusual flicker in the corner of your eye. By the time you looked over to see what it was, the headlights of the vehicle were colliding with your passenger-side door. You didn't have time to do anything to prepare for the crash.
As you started to wake up on the ride to the hospital, you realized that you were involved in a significant crash. You were in pain and couldn't breathe well. You later discovered that the driver had been intoxicated.
Someone in your position is going to have many questions about the future. How will you cover the cost of your care? How will you go back to work to make sure you can make ends meet? How long will recovery take? These are all excellent questions that should be answered.
Hit by a drunk driver: Now what?
After a collision, the first thing to know is that it's normal for insurance to cover your financial losses. Usually, an injury settlement will be pursued in lieu of a trial. The amount you can receive will depend on the insurance policy the other party carried, along with other factors.
You may be offered a settlement early on in your recovery, but think carefully before you accept it. The at-fault driver's insurance company will want to try to get you to settle for less than may be fair, all because they are trying to protect their bottom line. Don't settle quickly, though. You may not yet know how your injury will affect you or the cost of continued care in the future.
You should wait until your condition has stabilized before you even consider a settlement offer. You'll have even more leverage in your negotiations if you can show that the other driver was convicted for driving under the influence. That simple factor could make a huge difference in how much you're awarded in a settlement or if you have to go to trial.
If you do receive a settlement offer, it's usually a good idea to hold onto it and to discuss it with your attorney. You may want to review your bills, expenses and other factors to decide if the settlement is fair or if you should negotiate for a greater amount of compensation.