No one should ever drive drunk. However, everyone makes mistakes. You may think that you were ok to drive, only to be involved in a car accident and be arrested for drunk driving. But what if you were driving drunk and were involved in an accident that wasn't entirely your fault? Maybe the other driver ran a red light or blew through a stop sign. You may be wondering if you will still be found completely at fault because of your charges and whether the other driver can sue you. Here are some questions you may have and the answers.
Are You Automatically at Fault for an Accident That Occurs When You Are Driving Drunk?
No. Both drivers are responsible for driving in a safe manner and obeying all traffic laws. If you were stopped at a red light and a driver rear ends you, you may be found to have no fault in the accident, even though you were drunk. Or, if a driver is speeding and runs a red light, and hits you, you may not be at fault for the accident. While you still can be cited for drunk driving, you are not automatically at fault simply because you were over the legal limit for driving.
Will Insurance Cover Any Fault You Have in a Drunk Driving Accident?
If you are driving drunk and are involved in a car crash in which you have some fault, your car insurance will still cover compensatory damages. This includes compensation for standard medical bills, lost wages and property damage. However, if the injured party files a lawsuit for punitive damages, or the state orders these as part of your criminal case, your insurance company typically will not pay these. Punitive damages are punishment for driving drunk.
Can You File a Personal Injury Claim Against the Other Party?
If you were driving drunk, but were found not to have caused the accident, you may be wondering if you can file a personal injury claim against the other party. In order to do so, you must meet four different criteria in most states. You must be able to show that you were driving in a safe manner and obeying laws, you must show the other driver failed to obey traffic laws, you must show the failure to obey those laws caused the accident and you must show you have injuries as a result of that accident. Because you were driving drunk and not obeying laws, you don't meet the first criteria. This typically means you can't file a personal injury claim, and in the states in which you can, your recovery can be drastically reduced.
If you were involved in an injury accident and were charged with drunk driving, you will want to speak with both a DUI attorney and a personal injury attorney. A DUI attorney can help you with your driving under the influence charge, while a personal injury lawyer can help defend you against a potential personal injury charge or help you determine if you can file one based on the laws in your state.Share