According to a Your Central Valley report by Eric Luttrell, the victim in a DUI accident was identified as a 59-year old man from Kerman. The crash occurred on Jensen between Grantland and Chateau Fresno. The driver of the other vehicle has been charged with felony DUI as a result of the crash. In addition to impaired driving, investigators said that the dense fog might have also contributed to the traffic accident.
Who Is Liable for A DUI Accident?
If the driver in the above accident is convicted of felony DUI, he faces penalties that may include fines and imprisonment. However, who is responsible for paying the damages to the accident victims. In the event of a wrongful death, the family of the victim can sue the at-fault driver for damages. In other cases, the victims of a DUI accident can file a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver for damages. Damages that may be compensated in a DUI accident lawsuit include but are not limited to:
- Lost wages, including future loss of income and loss of earning capacity
- Medical bills, including future medical expenses and costs of personal care
- Funeral expenses and burial costs
- Property damage
- Permanent disabilities
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional suffering, physical pain, and mental anguish
- Other out-of-pocket expenses such as medical equipment, travel expenses, etc.
Money cannot undo the damage caused by a drunk driver; however, it can provide much needed financial support for the victim and his or her family. Unfortunately, the driver may not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay 100 percent of the damages. If this is the case, the victim can seek a personal judgment against the driver, but if the driver is in jail or does not have sufficient assets, the judgment is worthless. One option for the victim is to pursue an underinsured claim against his or her insurance policy.
An Underinsured Insurance Claim
If the victim purchased underinsured insurance coverage, a claim could be filed against the victim’s insurance policy for the amount of damages in excess of the drunk driver’s insurance coverage. However, underinsured insurance coverage is not mandatory in California.
Individuals must choose to pay an additional premium for underinsured insurance coverage. In the situation of a driver who carries minimum liability insurance, currently $15,000, underinsured insurance coverage can mean the difference in receiving full compensation or being responsible for thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. Since many drivers carry minimum insurance coverage, it is important to consider purchasing underinsured insurance coverage to protect yourself and your family.
Call A Fresno DUI Accident Attorney for More Information
A DUI accident case is not a “slam dunk” just because the driver has been charged with a crime. His insurance company may still deny your accident claim. You must prove that the driver caused the crash that resulted in your injuries. For example, a driver can be drunk and be the victim of an accident (i.e. you turn in front of a drunk driver causing a collision).
As with all other car accident cases, it is always in your best interest to consult with a Fresno car accident attorney to discuss your legal rights and your options to recover compensation or your injuries.
Call the Fresno car accident attorneys of Torem & Associates at 1-800-954-4444 for a free consultation. You may also use our online contact form to schedule a free case evaluation. It does not cost you anything to get an attorney’s advice.