Drunk driver doesn't have to pay for the damage he caused?
I was hit while driving on a highway by a drunk driver. He hit me so hard in just the right spot it flipped my SUV over. He was driving on a suspended license from a previous drunk driving accident. He had his mom's car with minimal insurance, so I have a claim against my insurance on the under insured motorist election.
I have pre-existing illness/injury, which I never denied, but the at-fault driver seems to me to be getting away with no real punishment and doesn't have to pay anything for the damage he caused. I received the minimal money from his mom's insurance, but what my insurance is offering seems to be a joke. I know money will not resolve any of the pain I live with, but it doesn't seem right.
I also believe the accident is allowing my previous illness/injury to progress more quickly than it would have otherwise. I was hopeful for a settlement to pay all current medical bills, make sure I have coverage for the future, and also to purchase a few items that can help make my life a bit easier. I just don't think the claim on my insurance is fair.
What can I do? Is there any way I can be sure all my current and future medical bills are covered for the worsening of my condition? Can the drunk driver really get off scot-free like that? Thank you for any info.
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ANSWER for "Drunk driver doesn't have to pay for the damage he caused?":
Unfortunately some people have the idea being the victim of a car accident is akin to winning the lottery. It's just not true. Sure, there are personal injury cases which ultimately result in hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to victims, but those cases are rare. Today, with all the safety features built into cars, even rollovers result in relatively minor injuries. Your case is evidence of that.
While the drunk driver had insurance, albeit through his mother’s policy, that does not preclude you from suing the driver personally. However if he was driving his mother’s car under her insurance, it is doubtful he has recoverable assets. However, there may be a way for you to recover additional monies from him.
He was arrested. He must face charges of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence. If he has prior alcohol related convictions it is likely this arrest will result in his being incarcerated. However, if he receives probation he will have to pay probation fees and other costs ordered by the court.
Contact the District Attorneys office. Tell them you're the victim of a driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence defendant. Tell the District Attorney you have bills resulting from the accident and need the driver to be responsible for paying the costs not paid by your insurance company.
Ask to speak with the assistant D.A assigned to the case. Tell the A.D.A if the defendant driver is going to receive a probated sentence, you would like the judge to order as part of the probation conditions payments to you for your medical bills, and related expenses not covered by insurance.
If the judge agrees to do that, the driver will have to pay those costs into the court's fund. From there the money will be sent to you. This is done to assure there is a record of payments. If, in the event the driver defaults in any of the payments, the judge can order he be arrested and incarcerated for the remainder if the sentence.
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,
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