Coverage for uninsured driver hit by drunk driver?

by Cynthia
(Manteca, CA, USA)

I was driving to work and a drunk driver hit me from behind. I was spun out of control and totaled my car. The drunk driver fled the scene, but thankfully was followed by a witness. CHP (California Highway Patrol) was called and they arrested the driver. She was also under the influence of some kind of drug.

So this person got DUI, driving under the influence of drugs, and hit & run. She also had a 3 year old child in the car, so got charged with child endangerment. She had auto insurance but I didn't.

My question is, is she responsible for the damage of my car? Does it matter that I didn't have auto insurance? What do I do to get her to pay for a new car? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Coverage for uninsured driver hit by drunk driver?":

Cynthia (Manteca, CA, USA):

While having car insurance is always a good idea, your not having it at the time of the crash is irrelevant. From the facts you present, the woman who crashed into you is unequivocally liable for the damage to your car and any injuries you may have sustained.

Be sure to acquire the driver's insurance contact information, including her policy number. Also secure a copy of the police report. You can pick one up for a nominal charge at the police station. You may also be able to acquire it online.

Contact the driver's insurance company. Report the collision and ask that a claims adjuster contact you as soon as possible. During the conversation, ask for the claim number assigned to your claim. If they haven't generated one yet, the claims adjuster will give it to you.

Presuming you weren't injured, a claims adjuster will likely come out to look at the damage to your car. If your car is going to be in the repair shop for one or more days you have a right to a rental car at no expense.

Because the driver was arrested, you can also also contact the prosecutor's office to be sure you have a say in the punishment meted out to the driver. These statements are referred to as "Victim Impact Statements."

If for any reason the driver's insurance isn't sufficient to cover your repairs, the prosecutor can make as a condition of the driver's probation that she reimburse you for the difference. Failing to pay can result in a violation of her probation, subjecting her to arrest and incarceration.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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