How Does My Own Insurance Policy Affect My Ability to Recover Damages After a Drunk Driving Accident?

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Two toy cars, one red, and one blue, on a desk, having collided, and with a person filling up forms in the background.North Carolina requires all drivers to carry minimum insurance in order to drive. This minimum insurance is liability coverage meaning it would pay for any damages the driver caused to someone else.

If the other driver does not have insurance, you can turn to your own insurance policy for compensation under your uninsured motorist coverage.

You can also turn to your own health insurance policy to pay for your medical expenses. If you are waiting for a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company or are waiting for the results of a lawsuit, your health insurance company might put a lien on your settlement.

This lien would reimburse your health insurance company directly from your settlement payment for the amount that they paid for your injuries directly from your settlement amount, according to Investopedia.

Does Insurance Cover Drunk Driving Accidents?

While they should pay for the victim’s damages, insurance companies might refuse to cover drunk driving accidents. They often try to deny any claims made to a drunk driver because driving while intoxicated is illegal.

According to Forbes, participation in illegal activity is not covered by insurance. Everyone knows that driving drunk is extremely dangerous and choosing to do so is an intentional act.

Insurance companies do not cover damages caused by intentional acts, so the driver would be solely responsible for paying for the accident. When this happens, a drunk driving accident lawyer may be necessary to negotiate on your behalf.

Your lawyer will argue that the crash itself was not intentional and, therefore, the insurance company should pay for the victim’s injuries and other damages.

What Damages Are Covered By Insurance?

Insurance companies should pay for victims to recover their losses from:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Lost Wages
  • Estimated Loss of Future Earnings
  • Rehabilitation Costs
  • Prescription Medication
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Property Damage
  • Wrongful Death

Medical Expenses

You will be fully compensated for all accumulated medical bills along with future medical expenses that you may receive to treat any accident-related injuries.

Be sure to get medical attention as soon as possible after the accident so that you will have documentation linking your injuries to the accident.

Lost Wages

The time you spend unable to work while recovering from your injuries is time that you are not earning your regular income.

You may be using up your allotted sick time or disability, but these often pay a reduced rate and might not last long enough for your recovery. You may even lose your job entirely.

You should be compensated for these financial losses.

Estimated Loss of Future Earnings

If you have to work at a reduced capacity due to injuries caused by the accident, you can claim your loss of future earnings.

Rehabilitation Costs

Depending on the nature of your injuries, there is a strong possibility that you will require some type of rehabilitation. Physical therapy, chiropractic care, pain management, and psychotherapy are some examples of rehabilitation.

Prescription Medication

The cost of medicines that your doctors prescribe for you because of your accident will be reimbursed. This amount includes the cost of medication you will be required to take long-term as long as it directly results from the accident.

Pain and Suffering

Common injuries, such as brain and spinal damage, are debilitating and permanent. All pain, the reduction of your enjoyment of life, and emotional damage will receive a value for your compensation.

Property Damage

Your vehicle and whatever property you had with you that was damaged during the accident will be added up for the cost of repair, replacement, or any reduction in value.

The same applies to damage to your property that the defendant caused if they were in a single-car accident and damaged your home.

Wrongful Death

The family of victims who were killed by a drunk driver can file a claim for wrongful death. If convicted, the defendant will have to pay monetary compensation to the family or dependents.

The defendant will likely face homicide charges in criminal court as well.

Insurance Companies Often Resist Paying for Damages

Insurance companies have to be tough to protect themselves from potential fraud and overpayments. They will not blindly believe that they are responsible for paying for the accident or accept the amount required for compensation.

You should be just as skeptical when dealing with the insurance company.

Do not believe what they say about their settlement offer being the best they can do or any initial denials of coverage. Discuss your case with a drunk driving accident attorney who will negotiate with these companies on your behalf.

Is It Important to File a Claim?

Damage to your vehicle from a drunk driving accident is often very expensive to repair. You may even have to replace your entire vehicle.

Your injuries may be more serious than you first thought, and you may have long-lasting physical impacts on top of monumental medical expenses.

Filing a claim for damages against an aggressive insurance company may seem daunting at first, but the compensation makes it worth it. A drunk driving accident lawyer will fight this battle for you, so you can relax and focus on your health.

The drunk driving accident attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson will negotiate to get you the best compensation possible and take your claim to court if necessary. You will not pay our attorneys anything until you get paid.

Deadline to File a Claim

North Carolina has a statute of limitations for filing a claim for damages from a motor vehicle accident. You have three years from the date of the collision to file your lawsuit or claim.

If someone was killed in the accident, the family has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.

It is never wise to wait until the deadline to file for damages. Evidence can disappear, and facts become convoluted.

It also takes time to gather all documentation and other evidence about your case and then adequately prepare your claim or lawsuit. It is best to begin the process soon after your accident.

There are situations where waiting is beneficial, such as waiting for medical treatment to complete to get accurate evidence of cost, but this strategy should be discussed with your lawyer as other aspects of your case can be prepared while you wait.

Insurance Policy Limits

North Carolina is an at-fault insurance state, so the drunk driver’s insurance should pay for the damage you have suffered.

The amount you receive can be up to the policy limits. If the drunk driver’s car was not financed, they may only have the minimum required insurance policy which is $30,000 for bodily injury for one person and $60,000 for bodily injury for two or more people.

This amount may not be enough to cover all expenses, especially if you had multiple people in your car. Minimum insurance coverage for property damage is only $25,000, so if you just purchased a new sports utility vehicle, the driver would have to come up with the rest.

A personal injury lawsuit is your next step to recovering your losses when your expenses exceed the insurance policy limits.

Contact Your Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer at Tatum & Atkinson to Recover Damages

With the heavy hitters at Tatum & Atkinson, you can rest assured that the compensation you are entitled to receive is coming. Call our experienced team of drunk driving accident attorneys today at (800) LAW-0804 to discuss your case and get the process started.