Getting Compensation When You Have Been Injured by a Drunk Driver
According to national statistics cited by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), someone is injured in an accident involving a drunk driver every about 30 times an hour. Unfortunately, many people who cause accidents while driving drunk have already been arrested and charged with drunk driving, and many have lost their insurance as a result. If the drunk driver who caused your accident was insured, you are lucky. You can file a claim with your insurer, who will in turn seek reimbursement from the drunk driver’s insurance company. But what are your options if the person who caused your accident had little or no insurance. Are you just out of luck?
The answer is generally no. The first thing you want to do is look to your own insurance policy. Most, if not all, insurers offer a rider (an additional coverage for an additional premium) that covers situations where you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. As a general rule, you have to opt in (affirmatively choose) the coverage, so you will want to look at your policy to see if you have it. Don’t rely on your insurance agent to tell you. You are best served by having an attorney review your policy.
There are generally limits to the amount you can recover through an uninsured/underinsured motorist rider. Another potential source of compensation may be the person who sold or served the alcohol to the drunk driver. In most states, there are liquor liability laws (typically called “dram shop” laws) that allow an injured person to seek damages under two different situations:
- If the person or establishment served alcohol to someone who was visibly intoxicated or who a reasonable person would conclude was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or
- If the person or establishment served the drunk driver a sufficient quantity of alcohol that would reasonably cause that person to be intoxicated
Contact Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, we have fought for the rights of individuals throughout Delaware County since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or contact us online.
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