What Happens If You’re Hit By a Drunk Driver in PA?

Anyone who survives a car accident caused by a drunk driver in Pennsylvania often suffers significant injuries that not only disrupt their life but ends up costing them an excessive amount of money in medical bills, lost wages, and more.

In most cases, drunk drivers who cause motor vehicle accidents are arrested and have to answer for their crimes. Thankfully, in most states, including Pennsylvania, victims of drunk driving accidents can file civil lawsuits against drunk drivers and receive the compensation they deserve.  

To ensure you get the compensation you deserve, consider the following steps if you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver in Pennsylvania.


Pennsylvania DUI Accident Victims Checklist

The moments immediately following a car accident are crucial for victims. Unfortunately, the scene of a DUI accident can be chaotic. It is not uncommon for an accident victim to be in pain, disoriented, confused, stressed, or in shock immediately following the accident.

While this is to be expected, it’s important to remember that the steps taken immediately following a motor vehicle accident with a drunk driver could impact your ability to hold them accountable in a civil case. Although some of these steps may be difficult, especially if you’ve suffered severe or life-threatening injuries, a loved one can help. Also, the police will gather much of the necessary information needed to file a lawsuit and will be able to provide it to you later. If you can, however, try to complete the following tasks.

1.) Contact the Police

No matter what type of car accident you are involved in, you should always call police to the scene.

In the case of a suspected drunk driving accident in Pennsylvania, the police will test the alleged drunk driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) using either a breathalyzer or a blood test to determine whether or not their BAC is above the legal limit. If the driver’s BAC exceeds the legal limit, they will be arrested and charged with DUI. This information will be crucial in determining fault in any civil case you file moving forward.  

The police can testify about specifics surrounding the arrest, such as whether or not the driver smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, displayed poor balance, was slurring their speech, or any other factors that led them to determine that the driver was drunk.

This information, along with a DUI conviction, will certainly help your civil court case.


2.) Seek Medical Attention

When your injuries from a DUI accident are severe enough, you won’t have a choice, and first responders will send you to the hospital for emergency treatment. However, in cases where your injuries seem less severe, you may be given a choice to waive medical treatment.

When it comes to any motor vehicle accident, you must seek medical attention immediately, regardless of how you may feel. Traumatic brain injury, internal bleeding, bruising, and whiplash can all take time to present themselves following an accident. Serious injuries often do not present themselves for hours, days, or even weeks. Going to a doctor can help catch these injuries early, allowing them to begin treatment sooner before the conditions worsen. Furthermore, a complete medical report will be helpful in your lawsuit against the drunk driver.  


3.) Gather Important Information

Anytime a motor vehicle accident occurs, drivers must exchange information, and this is especially critical following a PA drunk driving accident. If the police are on the scene, you can get this information from them rather than the drunk driver.

You’ll need the following information:

  • The drunk driver’s personal information, including their name, address, and phone number.
  • The make, model, and license plate number of the drunk driver’s vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the accident.
  • The location where the accident occurred and a description (or photos) of the surrounding area.
  • Information about the officers responding to the accident, including their badge numbers and contact information.
  • Your observations about the driver, their behavior, or any admissions they might have made.
  • Information about where the drunk driver was headed and where they were coming from.


4.) Keep Track of Your Recovery

Your personal injury lawsuit against the Pennsylvania drunk driver that hit you may include seeking compensation for any pain and suffering that you may have faced due to your injuries. Therefore, you need to show the courts how the accident affected you and the toll that it has taken on your everyday life, as well as on your family.

A great way to track your recovery and the effects of the accident on you and your loved ones is to keep a journal. It can be a written journal, a video diary, or an audio recording. Regardless of which you choose, it will be useful in proving your case to a judge or jury.

5.) Contact a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you should contact a personal injury attorney. Personal injury lawyers can guide you through any claims process related to your accident and help fight for compensation for medical costs, loss of income, or pain and suffering caused by the drunk driver.

Photo by Quoteinspector.com shared via CC BY-ND 2.0


Can You Sue a Drunk Driver in PA?

In Pennsylvania, you can sue a drunk driver who injured you, and you can also sue others who may have been negligent. In certain instances, this may include the establishment where the drunk driver was drinking before the crash or whoever sold the driver the alcohol.


Pennsylvania DUI Victim Attorneys

If you or a loved one was injured because of a drunk driver, contact the PA personal injury lawyers experts at Thistle Law. Our experts will fight for the compensation you and your family deserve. Set up a consultation with one of our helpful Pennsylvania brain injury experts by clicking here or calling 215-525-6824.


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