The penalties for someone convicted of driving while intoxicated are serious. They are even more serious if that driver was the cause of an accident that resulted in an injury or death. Sadly, even with increased penalties, being hit by a drunk driver is still one of the most common car accident causes. Intoxicated drivers are known for distracted driving, speeding and other dangerous road behaviors.
Can Victims Get Compensation From Drunk Drivers?
Once investigators determine that drunk driving was the cause of an accident, the victim likely has several options in regard to collecting a financial settlement. The family of someone who was killed also has the right to seek monetary damages for the loss of their loved one. Your lawyer may pursue some of these options on your behalf if you were involved in a car accident:
Car insurance companies: Attorneys commonly file insurance claims with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the claim for damages is greater than the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits, additional legal actions are often taken.
Uninsured motorists insurance: Sometimes uninsured drivers are involved in car accidents. What is a victim to do? Often coverage for this is included in the victim’s auto insurance policy. If the driver who caused the accident was uninsured or underinsured, a lawyer can investigate means of compensation available through the victim’s own insurance company.
Personal injury lawsuits: If a driver was found guilty of drunk driving and that offense was the cause of an accident, an attorney may file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages from the at-fault driver. In some cases it is possible to file a lawsuit against a third-party such as a restaurant, bar or individual if they provided the driver with alcohol.
Crime Victims’ Compensation Program (CVC): In qualifying cases, an injured victim may submit a claim for compensation to the CVC if he or she is unable to collect a settlement or insurance claim. The amount of compensation available is limited, and the funds received may have to be repaid if a personal injury award is made to the victim or his or her family.
Which Option Is Right For You?
Often, drunk driving accident victims feel overwhelmed by the physical and financial consequences of the accident. Insurance company policies can be complicated, and frequently the agents do not have the best interests of the injured party in mind.
Many times, victims of these kinds of accidents do not seek help because they believe that an attorney will be too expensive. While professional legal assistance is not free of charge, many attorneys are willing to work out an arrangement to collect their fees once the victimized person has received his or her compensation.