Auto Accidents

What Are Your Legal Options When Hit By a Drunk Driver?


It is relatively easy to sue successfully a driver who causes an accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As a matter of fact, assuming that the police have already determined that the at-fault driver was drunk, all you need to do is file a personal injury against the motorist and hope everything plays out in your favor.   There is a little twist, however, if you reside in a no-fault state. Your quest for compensation may not be as easy, and you need to be well acquainted with your legal options before filing a claim. When hit by a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, here is what you ought to know.

Filing an Insurance Claim is Always a Better Option

For starters, if you live in a no-fault state, the law prohibits you from taking legal action against a negligent motorist unless your medical bills exceed a certain amount or if your injuries are considered to be sufficiently severe.   That said, before you file a personal injury claim with the courts; consider exhausting the insurance option first. Your chances of getting compensated are higher with an insurance claim in comparison to taking the courthouse route. Nonetheless, if you file a third-party suit against the other driver’s insurance company with the intention of pursuing a full settlement for the injuries and other damages, the amount you will end up receiving might not be anywhere near the losses incurred.

If There Was a DUI Conviction, You May File a Lawsuit

When the at-fault driver is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), consider filing a personal injury claim at the court because your chances of succeeding are high. Insurance companies are well aware that if a case against their customer goes to full trial, they might eventually pay large amounts of cash as compensation. As such, the insurer will rather negotiate a settlement instead of letting the case to go full trial. In essence, this means that you will most likely get a compensation amount that is equivalent to the losses suffered as a result of the accident.

What Are Your Other Options if You Live in a No-Fault State?

As stated, your legal options are limited if you live in one of the twelve or so states where the no-fault laws are applicable, at least at the outset. Be sure to use your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to pay for your medical expenses, even when a drunk driver is to blame for the crash. Each no-fault state has a legal provision that allows you to file a liability or personal injury lawsuit against a driver who is to blame for the accident. If your injuries are deemed “severe” by your state’s standard or your medical expenses are high enough, you can seek legal redress outside the stipulations of no-fault laws.

Contact a Lawyer

If you or someone you know is hit by a drunk driver in a no-fault state, call a car accident lawyer straight away. An attorney will scrutinize the events surrounding your situation and if you have a case, negotiate the legal system to get the compensation you deserve. Consultation is free.

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