In the United States, a person is killed by a drunk driver every 50 minutes and the total cost related to accidents caused by drunk drivers is over $44 billion per year. Those are staggering numbers when you consider them.
What is more staggering is that states spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertisements, education, and other programs intended to teach people about the tragedies that result from those who are drinking and driving. Yet, millions of people take to the road each year believing that they are perfectly capable of driving while impaired.
We Are Facing an Epidemic
While the number of deaths caused by alcohol related accidents is staggering, the truth of the matter is that hundreds of thousands of people are hurt in these kinds of accidents each year. In this country, 16% of motor vehicle accidents are caused by drunk drivers, and over 400,000 people will be hurt as a result of being involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 100 million incidences reported each year related to alcohol and drug usage on the road, and that is what is just reported.
The Damage Goes Beyond Injury
While this may seem secondary, the fact remains that over $45 billion in damage is caused as a result of drunk drivers each year. Those are staggering numbers that lead to a huge amount of property damage. This means that insurance companies are forced to pay tens of billions of dollars in claims, claims that will eventually lead to consumers having their insurance premium raised.
This is one of the primary causes of high costs related to insurance premiums. These companies are required to pay the costs incurred as a result of accidents, and because drunk drivers continue to take to the road your premiums are going to continue to rise.
What to Do If You’re Hit by a Drunk Driver
Considering that there are over 100 million incidences of drunk driving reported each year, you can be sure that there is a one in two chance that the person driving next to you maybe impaired. It is true that the vast majority of people rarely drive impaired, but you don’t know when they will be on the road after drinking heavily.
This makes the odds pretty good that somebody who’s been drinking and driving will hate you at some point. It’s a sad fact, but a true one.
The insurance company for that driver or your own insurance company will handle much of the damages incurred. They are likely to have some form of coverage that could provide compensation of up to $50,000 for each person injured as a result of the accident. Your own insurance will cover the same costs, as long as your coverage provides for that.
Will I Be Fully Covered By My Insurance Company?
What you may really want to know is if it is likely that the amount of insurance you have as well as that of the other driver will be enough to pay for any form of injury or damage incurred as a result of this drunk driver hitting you?
The vast majority of people survive accidents involving drunk drivers, meaning that there is a need to see doctors, have their car or other property repaired, and maybe even seek punitive damages as a result of their negligence. On the other hand, the majority of insurance companies are looking to settle these kinds of cases as quickly as possible. They understand that their client is at fault because he or she was drinking and driving. This makes it so that you are likely to win any kind of dispute and they are quick to settle. So how much is the average settlement?
Keep in mind that insurance companies are trying to save themselves as much money as possible. They want to pay you the least amount to ensure that they make the most amount of profit. What this means is that you are likely to receive a settlement offer that is quick and seems reasonable.
The average medical costs incurred from a drunk driving incident is about $2000. Because Arizona requires a minimum coverage of $15,000, this is well within the amount provided by the insurance company and its coverage.
Damage coverage can range anywhere from $50,000-$200,000 in most insurance policies, so unless there is catastrophic damage to a property, you can be sure that this will be covered as well.
What makes it hard to answer is the average amount that will be paid. Because of the fact that every accident is different in some form or another, insurance companies seek to provide payment that fits the needs of the injured person, plus any other form of compensation that is required, such as damages.
This can mean that they will pay as little as a few hundred dollars or as much as the maximum coverage provides. It is really dependent upon the amount of damage and injury involved.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been involved in an accident involving a drunk driver, it is extremely important that you seek legal counsel. Understand that the insurance company will try to settle with you as quickly as possible, and they will do everything possible to give you as little as they can.
Hiring an attorney will not only help you to protect your interests, but ensure that you are receiving the compensation you deserve. You have no idea how much of an impact this may have upon you, and so seeking the assistance of an attorney to represent you with the insurance company is an important means to getting the compensation you deserve for the stupidity of another.
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