Impaired Driving Accidents: Understanding Responsibility, and Settlement

Drivers have a responsibility to safeguard others while on the road. While criminal and civil statutes mandate rules of the road, not everyone follows them. Persons suffering from substance abuse problems, in particular, may dangerously disregard the law.

Driving while under the influence can lead to a life-altering accident. After the collision, the person responsible for the crash faces the consequences. Among the consequences is a negligence lawsuit.

Negligence and Responsibility

At the center of any impaired driving car accident case is the question of negligence. Under the law, negligence refers to a failure to drive safely on the road leading to someone’s injury. Choosing to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol reflects a disregard for safety.

The driver now becomes responsible for all injuries. Injured parties, however, must take all the necessary action to recover damages. The complexity of the process depends on several factors.

Filing an Insurance Claim

In most states, driver’s are required to carry auto liability insurance. The insurance covers the driver in case of an accident. So, when injured by an impaired driver, you can seek a settlement from the insurance company up to the limits of the policy. Retaining the services of an attorney may prove helpful. The insurance company might offer a low settlement. An attorney can fight for a higher amount or file a suit to seek a judgment in court.

Coverage Limits

The point about insurance companies only covering up to the limits on the policy can create some concerns. If the negligent driver’s liability insurance maxes out at $100,000 and inflicts $200,000 in damages, an attorney would need to sue the driver for the amount above policy limits. The assumption here is the driver has $100,000 in assets. Suing someone you cannot collect from fails to make any sense. So, the injured party often relies on getting the best settlement amount from the insurance company.

The Basics of a Settlement

A settlement offer refers to a lump sum payment to end all litigation. Settlements can make things easier for all parties. Injured persons stand to benefit significantly from a substantial settlement offer. Upon receiving the settlement check, the funds can go towards covering losses from the accident. Address medical bills, lost wages, and more with the settlement money. Litigation could take much longer and without any means of predicting the jury award.

Strong Settlement Representation

Insurance companies seek to protect their interests. While obligated to cover losses deriving from an impaired driver’s negligence, the insurance company still argues just how much the negligence cost. The insurance company wants to cut its losses. By accepting a small, unfair settlement offer, the injured party may serve the insurance provider better than him/herself.

Seeking solid representation becomes the responsibility of anyone injured by an impaired driver. Negotiating directly with the insurance company may prove disastrous. Turning over these duties to an attorney could lead to a favorable outcome.