If you get injured by a drunk driver, Washington state law allows you to sue the driver for all damages resulting from the accident. The reason is that the driver was “negligent” in his or her driving, and you were hurt as a result of the negligence—even if the driver was driving illegally by being intoxicated.
This seems to go counter to a long-standing rule of insurance: you can’t collect for intentional, illegal or fraudulent acts. If you burn your house down to collect insurance, the company won’t pay if they find out it was intentional.
Intentional v Accidental
When something is intentional or accidental isn’t always clear. For example, if you have insurance and then steal a car but get into a wreck, your insurance company will deny your claim. When you intentionally get drunk and intentionally drive your car, it seems that this shouldn’t be covered, however, the accident itself was still an accident.
Contrast that with a person intentionally ramming someone to hurt or kill them, then their insurance company won’t cover your injuries because the driver did it intentionally.
Who Pays When Drunk Driver Injures Another Person?
In almost all cases, if someone is injured by a drunk driver, their insurance policy will pay the damages. If the driver got drunk and then tried to run someone over, then this might be an exception because the “accident” part was intentional.
So, what happens when the driver isn’t insured? Who is going to cover the financial losses of the victim? In these cases, if the victim has their own auto insurance policy, then it might cover the damages if the policy has uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage (UM/UIM).
This coverage is specifically designed to pay out when someone injures you in a car accident and is uninsured or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all the damages.
Contact a Spokane DUI Accident Personal Injury Attorney
If you live in the Spokane metro area and have been injured by a drunk driver, you need an attorney on your side so that you can get the maximum award of compensation allowed under the law. You need a Spokane DUI Accident Attorney.
The attorneys at Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S. serve clients in Spokane, Washington, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and surrounding communities. Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation. We will only offer you legal advice which is in your best interest.