If the accident causes injuries, especially if they’re severe, you should expect that the victims will file a claim against your insurance. If they and your insurance company can’t agree on a fair payment, you may be sued by the injured parties. If you’re in this situation, you’ll need to protect yourself.
If you’re arrested for DUI due to an accident that caused injuries or deaths, you are facing much more severe charges and consequences than if you were just pulled over for DUI without having an accident. Such accidents will make your situation more legally complicated. Even if insurance claims or lawsuits weren’t filed, you will need a DUI defense attorney to protect your rights.
What Is Insurance? How Will It Handle a Claim?
Vehicle insurance is a contract. You agree to pay for it, and the insurance company agrees to cover your potential liabilities (such as claims related to accidents, with restrictions) up to a certain point (the coverage limits). Colorado law requires you to carry liability insurance, but if you just buy the minimum, required coverage, the policy limits may not be enough to pay for all the damages caused by an accident. Ideally, you paid for additional coverage sufficient to protect you.
Insurance covers you for the harm you caused by mistake or due to your negligence, not because of intentional acts or while you committed a crime. If, after an investigation, your insurance carrier feels you acted intentionally when causing the accident or illegally when you drove, they will deny coverage for the incident.
Something else to consider is that if you want coverage, you must cooperate with your insurance company’s accident investigation. Remember, however, that anything you disclose to your insurer could be sought by law enforcement and used against you in a criminal prosecution.
What Happens if I Get Sued?
If the injured party and insurance company can’t settle, a lawsuit against you will probably claim you acted negligently (which is covered by insurance) and may claim you acted intentionally before the accident took place (which is not).
The insurance company should provide a civil attorney to defend you against this civil lawsuit. When DUI is part of the case, you should also retain a criminal defense attorney. (The criminal attorney will represent you for the criminal charges that you face, but will not be involved in the civil lawsuit. So, you would have two separate attorneys for these two distinct legal cases that you are involved with.) If the jury finds you acted intentionally, you, not your insurer, will be responsible for the damages.
If you’re found to have acted negligently, your insurance should pay for the verdict up to the coverage limit. If the injuries are severe and long-lasting, the verdict may be substantial. Your insurance company needs to pay the plaintiff only up to the limit. If the verdict is higher than your coverage, you will be responsible for the balance.
Let A Denver DUI Defense Lawyer Help You Avoid a Conviction
If you face a DUI charge, contact criminal defense attorney Kevin Churchill as soon as possible because the consequences of a conviction, especially if someone is injured or killed, can be life-changing. You will get the best help possible when you call Churchill DUI Defense. Contact us today at (303) 832-9000, or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Denver DUI defense attorney.