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After the accident: having a third party do battle on your behalf

For many drivers, their only experiences with drunk driving will be the "scared straight" drunk driving videos they are forced to watch during driver's ed. The videos that end with a smashed pumpkin as the only witness to a drunken father who ran over his toddler; a toddler who, moments before, was standing at the foot of his driveway excitedly waiting to show off his Halloween costume. Or the flashing lights of the police vehicle that illuminate the gory scene of a car wrapped around a tree by a teenager who had one too many sips from a hidden flask on prom night.

It is conceivable, however, that it could be your child who is hit. It could be your loved one whose car was wrapped around a tree; not because your loved one was drunk, but because a driver who was ran her off the road. It could be you in the hospital with broken bones because a drunk driver ran a stop sign and smashed into your vehicle.

Accidents caused by drunk drivers tend to be serious. They usually involve severe injuries and, all too often, fatalities. Every year, over one million motorists are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving every year. For two years running, in 2009 and 2010, Texas had the highest number of drunk drivers of any state.

When a driver is arrested and charged with drunk driving, he may face fines, jail time and the loss of his license if convicted. Even if convicted, he is not obligated to provide his victim with compensation for medical bills, loss of work and property damage. To receive any type of compensation, a victim must either negotiate a settlement with an insurance company (his or the drunk driver's depending on the laws of the state) or, if applicable, file a civil lawsuit.

After suffering the trauma of being in a drunk driving accident, the last thing you may feel like doing is negotiating with an insurance company who may be unwilling to pay. You may wish to consult with a lawyer who can not only help you through the process step-by-step but who will willingly take on the job of negotiating with the courts and insurance companies on your behalf.

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