If you have been injured in a car accident due to a drunk driver, you can file a claim against them under your personal insurance policy. However, you may not be able to recover economic damages because the accident costs were not covered by the policy. In such a case, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver.
You must speak with an experienced car accident lawyer if this is something that has happened to you. You may have a car accident claim or a personal injury claim on your hands. It all depends on the circumstances.
Damages for a drunk driver
If you are a victim of a drunk driving accident, you have many rights and options. While your car insurance will likely pay for your damages, you may be entitled to compensation from the drunk driver’s own insurance company. Your car insurance covers your damages due to negligence, but not punishment damages, which come from an intentional act by the drunk driver. In these cases, insurance companies may be more motivated to fairly settle the case.
The amount of punitive damages you can receive depends on your net worth. A drunk driver with a net worth of $100,000 may be required to pay as much as $20,000. Those with more wealth may be required to pay even more in punitive damages. In some states, punitive damages can’t exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages.
A drunk driving accident can cause significant emotional distress. These effects can range from sleeplessness and anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A drunk driving attorney can help you claim compensation for mental distress caused by the accident.
Damages for a drunk driver’s passengers
If you or a passenger was injured in an automobile accident due to a drunk driver, you may have a legal claim against the driver. Although it can be difficult to prove that the driver was at fault, you may be able to receive damages if you were unaware of his or her intoxication. Likewise, if the driver supplied alcohol to the passengers, they can be held partly responsible for the injuries.
In many cases, the passengers of a drunk driver can file a personal injury claim against the insurance company of the at-fault driver. The passenger may be able to receive monetary compensation for their medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Insurance companies generally are willing to settle claims for a certain amount if the passengers can prove that the drunk driver was at fault.
However, if the passengers knew that the driver was intoxicated, the court will reduce the compensation they receive. The court generally sets a threshold of 20% contributory negligence. If the claimant passenger is aware of the driver’s intoxication, he or she cannot rely on intoxication to avoid contributory negligence. Moreover, the claimant has no duty to ask the driver whether or not he or she has had enough alcohol to operate a car safely.
Repercussions of a drunk driver’s insurance policy
There are many implications of a drunk driving conviction for a motorist’s insurance policy. First, his or her insurance rate will rise, and he or she will lose the safe driver discount. Even if your insurer does not adjust your rates immediately, they will do so at renewal time. Furthermore, your insurance policy may be changed to a high-risk policy, which will have a higher premium.
A drunk driving conviction comes with severe penalties. Besides resulting in higher insurance premiums, a conviction will have repercussions for the rest of a person’s life. The consequences can be serious and may impact one’s ability to get a certain job, obtain credit, or rent an apartment. Insurance companies may also drop a drunk driver’s policy.
In addition to higher premiums, a DUI conviction may also result in cancellation of an auto insurance policy. However, California and North Carolina state laws prevent insurance companies from cancelling a policy prior to its expiration date.
Bringing a civil claim against a drunk driver
When you’re involved in an accident involving a drunk driver, you may want to bring a civil claim against him or her. These types of cases have a lower burden of proof than criminal ones, and you may be able to collect compensation from the driver without hiring an attorney. But it is important to note that you may have to wait until the criminal case has been resolved before filing a civil claim against a drunk driver.
While it’s possible to pursue criminal charges against a drunk driver, bringing a civil claim against them is more likely to secure the restitution you need. In addition to medical expenses, you can seek to recover lost wages and the value of damaged property. You’ll need to prove that the drunk driver’s impairment was a significant contributing factor in causing the accident.
You can also bring a civil claim against a drunk driver if you’ve already been convicted of DUI. A criminal conviction will only strengthen your case, and insurance companies will often try to settle your case out of court.