Every driver has a responsibility to act reasonably t protect other drivers and pedestrians on the road.
This includes following traffic laws, maintaining control of their vehicle, avoiding any distractions, and only driving when they're in the condition to do so.
One of the most irresponsible things you can do as a driver, or in general, is getting behind the wheel of a car under the influence of alcohol.
When you do, you are putting yourself and everyone who happens to be around you on the road in danger.
In the article below, we will explore the steps you need to take to pursue a claim against a drunk driver.
Table Of Contents
- Don't settle right away
- Proving Negligence When Hit By A Drunk Driver
- If There Was A DUI Conviction You Have A Great Case
- Insurance Claims Are Still The Best
- Fault vs. No-Fault Laws
- Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer
Don't Settle Right Away
No matter what the circumstances of the accident are, you want to be sure to fully assess your injuries following an accident before you settle.
The at-fault driver's insurance company may try to pressure you into an early settlement just to close the case and keep its payout as lows as they can.
However, a seemingly minor accident can cause serious injuries that aren't entirely apparent at first.
You will be asked to sign a release of liability form after agreeing to a settlement.
This bars you from any further injury claims pertaining to the incident, no matter how severe they turn out to be.
So, be sure to keep records of your financial losses, including medical bills and lost wages, and make sure your condition has completely stabilized before entertaining any settlement offers.
You do not want to sign the release of liability form too early.
also, keep in mind that there are limits to how much an insurance company will pay.
That limit often falls in the $50,000 range, but it varies by state.
If multiple injured parties have been injured by the same drunk driver, the limit is likely to be lower for each individual party.
Proving Negligence When Hit By A Drunk Driver
Even though the driver has been charged with and convicted of drunk driving, it still needs to be proved that he or she caused the collision that resulted in your injury.
The driver being drunk is not enough proof that they caused the accident.
Because of this, the drunk driver's insurance company could try to deny your claim to avoid paying a large settlement.
You should never assume your case will be a slam dunk because a drunk driver is involved.
Insurance companies can still fight claims against drunk drivers just as they would any other claim.
If There Was A DUI Conviction, You've Got A Great Case
With all that said, if there was a DUI conviction, you've got a much easier road ahead of you.
There aren't many scenarios where insurance will do everything in their power to avoid a lawsuit, but when their insured party is involved in a car accident involving a DUI or DWI, you can bet they will.
Insurance companies are very aware that if their insured goes to trial and a jury is allowed to decide on a monetary award for a plaintiff hit by a drunk driver, the settlement will be through the roof.
So even the most high-end injury settlement will still be better for the insurance company than going to trial.
Insurance Claims Are Still The Best
Before you race to the courthouse to file your claim, it's still a good idea to try to settle with the other driver's insurance company.
Drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance in every state.
So unless your drunk driver was also uninsured, the entire process would be much simpler for you and your lawyer if you seek an insurance claim.
If you file a third-party claim against the drunk driver's insurance company letting them know you intend to seek full compensation, you might be surprised at what they offer.
But, again, if your damages do exceed the limits of your state, you will have to head to the courthouse.
Fault vs. No-Fault Laws
There are about a dozen states that are known as "no-fault" states, including Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania.
In a no-fault state, your own insurer is responsible for covering your injury claims, not the at-fault driver's policy.
States will have different monetary limits for injury claims, known as personal injury protection, or PIP claims.
PIP claims may also be reliant on whether or not you have health insurance coverage.
PIP policies typically have monetary limits, and no-fault insurance policies often pay just 75 percent of one's regular wages concerning lost earnings claims.
So there's a possibility that you come up short if you're filing a claim in a no-fault state.
However, all no-fault states allow injured individuals to pursue additional claims against the at-fault driver under certain circumstances.
Georgia is an at-fault state, so if you are hit by a drunk driver in Georgia, the drunk driver's insurance will be responsible for paying damages.
Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer
Unfortunately, drunk driver cause thousands of accidents every year in the United States.
According to the CDC, 28 people die every day in alcohol-related traffic accidents in this country, costing over $44 billion.
As you can see from above, that can get complicated in a hurry.
The first thing you need to do after being involved in an accident with a drunk driver is contact a personal injury attorney.
The lawyers at The Roth Firm have years of experience and expertise settling car accident claims for their clients and getting them what they deserve.
The Roth Firm is ready to help you today.
Click the button below to get started.