Drunk drivers are a public menace. Some people think nothing about getting trashed at the bar and getting back out on the road.
Some even believe that they’re “good drunk drivers,” and that if they have a certain number of drinks in them, that they’re virtually invincible while driving and capable of no wrongdoing.
Of course, any rational person knows that your reflexes worsen if you’re intoxicated, regardless of what you might think. It’s illegal to drive drunk, and if a drunk driver hits you, that is a much more serious charge than if an accident occurred with a sober person.
There are a few facts that you should know about drunk driving and your rights if this happens to you.
Some States Do Require Drivers to Carry Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Bodily injury liability coverage:
- Is something that exists in case a driver injures someone while driving
- Isn’t required by all states but is by many of them
The various US states require drivers to carry different injury liability coverage amounts. For instance, in Texas, drivers must carry a minimum of $30,000. In other states, it could be more.
You’ll feel a bit better about things if you’re in an accident with a drunk driver, and you know that they’re carrying that insurance. You’ll probably be due a payout that can help you with medical bills and wage loss. If you can establish the other driver was drinking before the crash occurred, you have a strong chance of winning your case.
If a Commercial Driver Hit, You Can Often Sue the Company as Well
If you get hit by a drunk driver that an entity such as a trucking company employs, you can hold that company liable in some instances. These types of cases:
- Can run into complications quickly
- Can involve weeks or months of court battles
If you want to go after the company and the driver, you’ll undoubtedly want an experienced lawyer on your side. The company will have attorneys fighting for them, and you want someone who can counter their every move.
You Might Be Able to Agree Upon a Settlement
If the drunk driver knows that you’re going to win when you bring suit against them, they may wish to settle out of court. They may hire a lawyer and come up with a number that they feel will satisfy you before you even know your court date.
Remember, though, that if the number they offer you sounds low, you don’t have to take it. You’ll need to take some time to calculate how much damage this accident means to you.
You might be looking at income loss and doctor bills, but also a badly damaged or totaled vehicle. You may be in considerable pain from a permanent injury.
This is another instance where you’re going to want to talk about things with a lawyer. It could very well be that the other driver and their lawyer are trying to lowball you with their first offer.
If your attorney informs you that you can get more, you are perfectly within your rights to refuse the first settlement offer and take the case to court.
The Court Can Garnish the Other Driver’s Wages
If you win the judgment against the other driver, which is likely if the fault is obviously theirs, then they might try to claim poverty. They have an obligation, though, to liquidate their assets to pay what they owe you.
They might have to sell their home, vehicle, or other valuables. The court might also garnish their wages to help pay what they owe.
You might not be in love with the idea of the other driver draining their savings and selling their valuables to pay you. That’s going to be a hardship for them. What you have to remember, though, is that the other driver made a conscious decision to get behind the wheel after they consumed alcohol.
Even if your injuries were not too severe, they easily could have been. The other driver might have killed you or your passengers. Driving drunk is a horrible decision, and if the other driver suffers hardship because of what they did, that’s a lesson that they need to learn.
Hopefully, the drunk driver did not hurt you badly, and in time, you can get over what happened. Ideally, the other driver will learn from their mistake and never do the same thing again.