Does Insurance Cover Drunk Driving Accidents?Last updated on: November 28, 2020
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Drinking while driving is always a bad idea and often results in injury or death. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with a drunk driver, you may face difficulty with insurance companies who are unwilling to cover the costs of your injuries or property damage. This is why it is important to contact a lawyer who has experience and knowledge in fighting insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident involving a drunk driver, call our experienced drunk driving accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group today. Call (800) 863-5312 to schedule your free consultation.
INSURANCE IN DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENTS
If you were involved in an accident where the other driver had been drinking, it is important to gather as much information about the accident as you can. This includes pictures of the damages and the insurance information of all other drivers involved, as insurance companies may cover all, or part, of your damages and other expenses.
Many insurance companies will, in fact, cover drunk driving accidents, at least in part. If you are in a no-fault state, it is important that you carry personal injury protection insurance so that you are protected in the event you are injured in a car accident. You should have an experienced attorney by your side who may help negotiate with the insurance companies, who may be reluctant to give you the compensation you deserve.
In 2018, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for approximately 29% of the total vehicle traffic fatalities nationwide. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, 36,560 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2018. Of those deaths, 10,511 people were killed in a crash involving a driver with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater. Below are examples from 2018 of drunk driving statistics in some of the states where Zinda Law Group practices. The “DUI Severity Score” was calculated using DUI arrest rates per 100,000 in population and DUI fatalities per 100,000 in population:
Arizona ranked at number 20 for the severity of its DUI problem.
- DUI arrests: 19,200
- DUI fatalities: 285
- Rate of traffic deaths due to driving under the influence: 28%
- Increase in DUI fatalities from previous year: 5.90%
- DUI severity score: 6.89
Colorado ranked at number 13 for the severity of its DUI problem.
- DUI arrests: 20,353
- DUI fatalities: 188
- Rate of traffic deaths due to driving under the influence: 30%
- Increase in DUI fatalities from previous year: 6.80%
- DUI severity score: 7.41
New Mexico had one of the highest DUI severity scores nationwide and ranked at number 6.
- DUI arrests: 6,464
- DUI fatalities: 108
- Rate of traffic deaths due to driving under the influence: 28%
- Decrease in DUI fatalities from previous year: 4.40%
- DUI severity score: 75
Texas had one of the highest rates of traffic deaths due to driving under the influence at 40%. Only one other state, Montana, had a higher rate, with a rate of 43%. Texas ranked at number 11 for the severity of its DUI problem.
- DUI arrests: 69,643
- DUI fatalities: 1,439
- Rate of traffic deaths due to driving under the influence: 40%
- Decrease in DUI fatalities from previous year: 2.80%
- DUI severity score: 7.52
WILL INSURANCE COVER MY INJURIES FROM A DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT?
If you are injured in a drunk driving accident, you may be wondering if your insurance, or the at-fault driver’s insurance, will cover your injuries. Unfortunately, insurance companies won’t typically hand out the maximum amount of compensation you may be entitled to. You will first have to prove liability. Further, each state has different laws that you should be aware of that may affect your case.
Immediately following an accident, you should always contact local authorities and seek medical attention. As soon as you are safe, you should then make sure to collect evidence. This includes photographs of all of the vehicles involved in the accident, your injuries, and any other damage. It is important to be as thorough as possible when documenting your accident, as this evidence may be beneficial in proving liability in your drunk driving lawsuit.
If you were in an accident and you believe the other driver may be intoxicated, make sure to report that to law enforcement as soon as they arrive on the scene. Before law enforcement arrives, however, you can keep your eyes open for any activity that may show the other driver had been driving under the influence. Some examples of what to be aware of include:
- The smell of alcohol or marijuana,
- Erratic behavior of the other driver,
- Watching the other driver use eye drops or breath spray,
- Slurred speech of the other driver,
- Watching anyone in the other vehicle dispose of bottles of alcohol or drug paraphernalia,
- Watching the driver of the vehicle switch places with a passenger.
It is vital to record any suspicious activity and any documents or photographs that may help you prove liability so that you can collect the compensation you deserve.
It is important to know if you are in a “fault” or “no-fault” state. In a no-fault state, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Your PIP helps to cover you and your passengers’ medical expenses and damages in the event of an accident, which means it does not matter which driver is at fault. However, in an at-fault state, the driver who is found at fault for the accident may be required to pay for your injuries and damages through their own insurance.
As of 2016, the following states require drivers to purchase no-fault, or PIP, insurance coverage:
- Kentucky (optional)
- New Jersey (optional)
- New York
- North Dakota
- Pennsylvania (optional)
Dram Shop Laws
When bars or restaurants serve alcohol, they have a legal obligation to prevent customers from being over-served. If customers have been over-served and get into a motor vehicle accident, these establishments may be responsible for any resulting injuries. These “dram shop” laws vary from state to state, so it is important that you know the law in your state in the event of an accident.
Many states require that the patron be obviously, visibly, or apparently intoxicated at the time of service. Evidence of these factors may include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slurred speech
- Unsteady stance
- Stench of alcohol
Knowing the dram shop laws in your state is important in determining who may be liable for your injuries in the event of a drunk driving accident. Zinda Law Group drunk driving lawyers can help explain the dram shop laws in your state.
CAN A DRUNK DRIVER RECEIVE INSURANCE COVERAGE?
You may be wondering if the drunk driver will receive insurance coverage for his or her illegal acts. The answer is surprisingly yes … to an extent. For the most part, insurance policies will exclude coverage for your intentional and fraudulent acts. However, there are certain exceptions when your illegal acts were “accidental.” Driving under the influence is sometimes included in these exceptions, but only up to the liability limits of the policy. Therefore, a drunk driver’s insurance policy may determine the compensation a victim can receive.
LIMITATIONS OF COVERAGE
Insurance coverage after a drunk driving accident is not guaranteed, however. The company that issued your policy may deny coverage of any personal injury or property damage claim made against you as a result of your DUI, or they may cancel the policy altogether.
Denial of Coverage
Insurance companies will not cover car accidents caused by your intentional and fraudulent conduct. Some insurers will argue that drinking and driving is an intentional act and, therefore, they should be able to deny you coverage of any personal injury or property damage claims resulting from your DUI. If you cause an accident while intoxicated, you should expect your insurance company to investigate the crash before they agree to accept liability for any resulting damages.
If your insurance company is denying coverage for damages resulting from an accident with a drunk driver, you may need to hire an experienced drunk driving insurance lawyer to fight for your case.
Insurance companies do not typically like to insure bad drivers. If you are convicted of a DUI, your insurance company may assume you are a bad driver and may cancel your coverage. Although some states will not permit insurance companies to cancel your coverage outright, you should assume that all insurers will if legally allowed.
SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION WITH ONE OF OUR DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS TODAY
Our experienced drunk driving accident lawyers are here to help in your case. Zinda Law Group attorneys may work hard in your lawsuit to fight the big insurance companies and help get you the compensation you deserve.
Call (800) 863-5312 to chat with Zinda Law Group lawyer today to get a free consultation and speak with a drunk driving accident attorney about your case. You don’t pay anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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