On Tuesday, January 9th, a car crashed into the back of a Freightliner service truck on the bypass of Highway 83 in Minot. According to the truck driver, he was trying to turn, but couldn’t move because of traffic. He could see a Jeep coming up fast behind him, but there was nowhere to go. The car’s driver tried to swerve out of the way, but he clipped the bed and spun into the entrance of Tierraceta Vallejo.
No one was hurt, and traffic was only delayed for about 90 minutes, which is good news. The driver of the Jeep, however, was arrested for drunk driving, which just goes to show that no matter how well you think you can drive after a few drinks, you really can’t. Had the driver been sober, it’s fair to assume he would not have missed the giant truck ahead of him on the road.
North Dakota has a problem with drunk driving
In 2012, North Dakota led the country in drunk driving-related fatalities. Our numbers have decreased over the last few years, but we have a lot more work to do. The North Dakota Department of Transportation released the following drunk driving statistics for 2016:
- 19% of adults – that’s almost 1 in 5 – will be arrested for DUI.
- One alcohol-related crash happens every 11 hours
- One person dies in an alcohol-related crash every seven days
- Alcohol plays a role in 40% to 50% of all fatal crashes in ND each year
- 49 people died in 2016 because of drunk driving accidents
- 446 people sustained injuries because of collisions involving alcohol
- The average BAC of a drunk driver is .17 – more than double the legal limit
I’ve been injured in a collision with a drunk driver – what do I do?
If you are hit by a drunk driver, you should request medical attention. Not every injury is immediately noticeable; sometimes, when your adrenaline takes over, you may not feel as if you were hurt. Injuries like internal bleeding or brain trauma can manifest over time, so seeking medical attention should be your main priority.
You or your passengers should call the local police, too, so there is a report on file. Exchange insurance information with the person who hit you (if possible), and then use your phone to take pictures: of the scene, of the damage to your car, of any bruising or cuts that are noticeable on you, and of the scene. You can take pictures of the car which hit you, too.
Once you have your pictures and you have been checked out by a doctor, call your insurance company. Tell them exactly what happened. When your police report becomes available, go down to the station and pick up a copy for your records. (Your insurer might want you to send it over to them, too, depending on your situation.)
Because you were the one who was hit and then hurt, the other driver’s insurance company should pay for your damages. However, we have enough experience to know that insurance companies don’t always do the right thing. Remember, their goal is to keep their money – not pay it out. If the insurance company wants you to sign anything, or agree to a settlement, or outright refuses to pay you, don’t panic. Pick up the phone, call our office, and set up a free consultation. Bring your paperwork with you and let us look at it. We can tell you what your next steps are, and plan a course to see that you are compensated fairly and justly for your medical bills, your property damage, your lost wages, and your pain and suffering.
At Larson Law Firm, P.C., we help people whose lives have been turned upside down by drunk drivers. We’re the lawyers Minot trusts to do right by them. Let us help you, too. To learn more about our services, or to work with an experienced North Dakota DUI injury lawyer, please call 701-484-HURT or fill out our contact form.