No one plans to be in an accident. Yet no matter how carefully you drive or how observant you might be, there’s no way to protect yourself completely against an accident involving a drunk driver. For those who are involved in a tragic collision where alcohol played a role, it’s challenging to even start picking up the pieces.
An individual who chooses to get behind the wheel after abusing drugs or alcohol poses a risk to everyone around them. Although alcohol may be a “social lubricant” at parties or in private, it results in decreased reaction times, blurred or unsteady vision, and poor motor control that transforms an ordinary pickup truck or passenger vehicle into a deadly missile. Driving under the influence is a serious crime in Louisiana, and with good reason: out of nearly 37,500 highway fatalities in 2016, a staggering 28% involved a driver who was impaired by alcohol.
Covering An Accident
In Louisiana, insurance companies are ordinarily not allowed to deny claims arising as the result of a drunk driving incident. Even if someone borrows a vehicle while drunk and crashes it, the owner’s insurance is still on the hook, under the theory that the person who lent the drunk driver his or her keys should have known better. Even if the driver who was sold insurance has prior DUI convictions, the insurance company can’t wiggle out of responsibility. In the aftermath of a drunk driving collision, the insurer for the vehicle and/or the driver can be held liable for property damage, repair costs, medical bills, lost income, future medical costs, and the pain and suffering of the victims. A personal injury lawyer Baton Rouge residents trust will know how to obtain the maximum damages available under the law.
There are only two situations where an insurance company may be able to avoid providing coverage after a drunk driving accident in Louisiana. The most obvious situation involves a stolen vehicle. Insurance companies are understandably excused from covering a victim’s damages if the intoxicated driver stole the car he used. For this same reason, however, unscrupulous insurance adjusters may try to claim that a car was stolen when in fact it was merely borrowed. A Baton Rouge drunk driving accident lawyer can determine whether a vehicle was actually reported stolen or if the guilty party is simply trying to evade responsibility.
Another basis for denying liability may be a policy exclusion. Insurance companies often refuse to insure drivers with DUIs, but cannot avoid insuring their relatives or roommates. As a result, some insurance companies will intentionally exclude a known offender from coverage under a policy. Such exclusions must be disclosed in order to be effective. A Louisiana injury attorney can force a company to produce a copy of the written policy to see whether their denial is legitimate.
If no coverage is available, that’s not the end of the road. Many victims have Uninsured Motorist coverage on their own policies, which can provide a substitute if they are injured through the negligence or recklessness of another driver. Your insurance company does not get a “green light” to treat your Uninsured Motorist claim differently, simply because a drunk driver was involved. The attorneys at Rozas Injury Law have helped numerous victims receive compensation from their own insurance company after a collision with an uninsured motorist.