As you regain consciousness on the ambulance stretcher, you begin to realize the extent of your injuries. To begin, paramedics respond to your wounds and look for evidence of a concussion, which has rendered you unable to feel your legs. According to the doctors at the hospital where you are being treated, your injuries were caused by a drunk driver.
Even though you’re grateful to be alive, you’re also aware of the long road ahead of you in order to recover. To make matters worse, while you’re in the hospital, you’re also out of work, which costs a lot of money. How are you going to make ends meet?
The majority of your financial losses, including lost pay, are most likely covered by insurance. In cases where there is no doubt that the driver was intoxicated, settlements are more likely to be pursued than trials. However, in order to receive the compensation you deserve, you must first learn about your state’s insurance laws, policy limits, no-fault insurance laws, and so on.
You were hit by a drunk driver? You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind
Regardless of the circumstances, make careful to thoroughly analyze your injuries before agreeing to a settlement. Even if the at-fault party’s insurance company tries to pressure you into settling the case quickly and for the smallest amount possible, even a seemingly minor accident can result in serious injuries that aren’t immediately obvious. This is why you need the help of Decatur AL car accident lawyers.
After a settlement agreement has been reached, the release of liability forms may be requested. Any other claims pertaining to the incident, no matter how serious, will be banned. As a result, before contemplating settlement offers, you should keep note of your financial losses (medical expenses, missed wages, etc.).
If the other motorist has been convicted of, or has pleaded guilty to, DUI, you have far greater negotiation power (DUI). Criminal hearings, such as DUI trials, require more proof than civil hearings, such as automobile accident cases. In other words, if the defendant has already been found guilty in a criminal case, showing the defendant’s accountability will be considerably easier.
Although some states’ courts would not let “no contest” DUI pleas into evidence in civil lawsuits since they are not technically confessions of guilt, the insurance company would rather avoid addressing the matter in front of a judge and jury.
Remember that insurance companies will only pay up to a particular sum, which is usually around $50,000. If your damages exceed your state’s limit and the defendant’s insurance only covers the bare minimum, you can initiate a civil suit. If several claims are brought against the same drunk driver, depending on the drunk driver’s insurance policy restrictions, this limit might be drastically reduced for each injured party.
Fault vs. No Fault Insurance Laws
Unless the claims surpass a specific threshold, your own insurer, not the at-fault driver’s insurance, is responsible for covering your injury claims. Various states have different monetary thresholds for personal injury protection (PIP) claims. Your PIP coverage, on the other hand, normally has its own monetary limits.
That implies that if you file a claim in a no-fault jurisdiction, you might not obtain the money you deserve. There is some good news: even in no-fault states, injured plaintiffs can file additional claims against the at-fault motorist if they have suffered “serious” injuries or have incurred damages in excess of a certain monetary threshold (as defined by state law). If your expenses exceed $50,000, you may sue the accountable party in New York State.