Any car accident is a stressful and nerve-wracking experience, but being hit by a drunk driver often brings another level of frustration, struggle, and pain and suffering. Not many judges or juries will have sympathy for a drunk driver.
What is Pain and Suffering?
In addition to damages owed for medical expenses related to car accidents, pain and suffering is another type of claim for accident victims. Pain and suffering is mental or physical distress that can be compensated in a personal injury claim. Relevant damages are assessed based on type and gravity of injury and pain suffered, as well as the medical prognosis for future pain resulting from the injuries. Oregon law recognizes pain and suffering for both physical and emotional damages.
Proving Pain and Suffering from Being Hit by Drunk Driver
In order to adequately prove your pain and suffering in a lawsuit, you’ll need to present as much documentation relating to the accident and subsequent injury as possible. Medical files and bills are particularly important for this, as well as prescription notes and receipts. If you visit a counselor, therapist or other service provider for emotional pain and suffering after the car accident, keep correspondence, files and bills from these providers as well. Photos and medical reports of physical injuries, and proof of time and wages lost as a result will also support your claim in court.
In Oregon, claims and lawsuits based on personal injury must be filed within two years. There is also a 180 day tort claim notice requirement if you plan to make a claim against a bar or tavern that served the defendant alcohol. Contacting an attorney immediately can help ensure that all time requirements are met.
“An action for assault, battery, false imprisonment, or for any injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract, and not especially enumerated in this chapter, shall be commenced within two years; provided, that in an action at law based upon fraud or deceit, the limitation shall be deemed to commence only from the discovery of the fraud or deceit.”
Steps to Take After Being Hit by Drunk Driver
It may take a few days for the full effects of personal injury to become apparent after an accident. Regardless of your symptoms, it’s important to make sure you have accurate record of the incident in case personal injury symptoms arise or get worse after the accident occurs.
Some steps to take after being hit by a drunk driver:
- Take pictures of your vehicle and any injuries
- Collect a copy of the police report
- Collect a copy of the medical report or notes after visiting a provider
- Collect the other drivers insurance information, and notify your insurance company
- Keep a file with all accident related proof and documentation
Retain a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options and receive guidance on the process. Although damages don’t necessarily vary according to whether a car accident occurred with or without a drunk driver, insurance companies are aware that an accident involving a drunk driver will not garner much sympathy in court and are often willing to pay out higher amounts because of this.