You’ve just been in an accident as a passenger, and as the dust clears, you notice the driver who hit you staggering out of their car. Are they drunk? When police arrive and test the other driver’s blood alcohol content with a breathalyzer, they end up handcuffing them and putting them in the back of their squad car. What can you do about getting compensation for your injuries? A personal injury DWI/DUI attorney can help you manage a claim against a driver who hit you while driving under the influence.
Texas and New Mexico Are Both At-Fault Insurance Claim States
Both New Mexico and Texas are at-fault insurance claim states, meaning people injured in a car accident would file their claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. While many people might believe that someone driving drunk would automatically be at fault for the accident, determining fault may be more difficult.
For example, if the drunk driver stopped at a stop sign and pulled into the intersection after waiting, but the driver not under the influence was speeding and blew through the stop sign, who is more at fault when the vehicles collide? A scenario like this could require a lengthy court battle to determine which party’s insurance company would pay for each victim’s injuries.
Your right to file a claim also depends on which vehicle you’re in. Were you riding with the driver accused of driving under the influence or with the driver struck by the drunk driver?
As a Passenger of the Person Accused of Driving Under the Influence
You may have difficulty getting approved for an injury claim with the insurance company if you were riding with the driver accused of driving under the influence. The insurance companies will likely argue that you were aware or should have been aware that the driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
As a Passenger in a Vehicle Struck by a Drunk Driver
If you were riding in the other vehicle and the driver who had been drinking clearly caused the accident, you may still have difficulty getting approved for the full value of your injuries, depending on the driver’s insurance limits for bodily injury liability.
In Texas, the state minimum insurance coverage includes:
- $30,000 in bodily injury liability
- $60,000 in bodily injury liability per accident (two or more people)
- $25,000 in property damage liability
In New Mexico, the state minimum insurance coverage includes:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident (two or more people)
- $10,000 in property damage liability
If the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough coverage, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to get coverage for your injuries.
Can You File a Personal Injury Claim Against a Negligent Driver in Jail for DUI?
A personal injury DWI/DUI attorney can help you determine the best time to file a personal injury claim against a person in jail for DWI/DUI. The statute of limitations in New Mexico for personal injury is three years, while in Texas, it is only two years. A jail sentence may influence the statute of limitations in either state, but your attorney can contact the courts to confirm when to file a claim.
Contact an Experienced DUI Car Accident Injury Firm in New Mexico and Texas
Personal injury cases are civil cases, whereas DUI or DWI can be a criminal offense. Filing a civil suit against a drunk driver for your injuries can be complex. Call us at 800-433-2408 or contact us online today at Fadduol Cluff Hardy & Conaway P.C. Law.