In the last 10 days, there were two serious car accidents caused by drivers under the influence.
The first accident happened on May 8, 2013 in Holmesburg, PA. Twelve people in a passenger van were injured when a car struck the van. The negligent female driver slammed her car into the van, which caused the van to tip onto its side. The negligent driver also suffered injuries. She was arrested for DUI. * Source: www.abclocal.go.com
Six days later on Monday, May 14, 2013, a driver under the influence caused a car accident in the Logan section of Philadelphia, only this time it was a deadly car crash. The 34 year old driver who caused the fatal accident drove his car into 2 other cars. The 45 year old woman passenger in one of the 2 cars was rushed to Einstein Medical Center and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The negligent driver was arrested and charged with DUI. * Source: www.abclocal.go.com
Both accidents are still under investigation.
Unfortunately, car accidents happen frequently, and many are caused by drivers who were driving while intoxicated. Many injured victims in these types of accidents often wonder whether the fact that the negligent driver was intoxicated affects their legal right to bring a civil lawsuit.
If a victim was injured in a car accident caused by an intoxicated driver, he/she can bring a lawsuit against the driver. Further, if the victim opted for the limited tort option in his/her car insurance policy, he/she will be deemed to have full tort because the driver was intoxicated.
In general, if an insured elected limited tort in his/her car insurance policy, the insured cannot bring a lawsuit against the negligent driver for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering as a result of the car accident. However, one of the exceptions to that general rule is if the person who caused the accident was driving under the influence. See Pennsylvania's Limited Tort - When You Can Sue For Pain And Suffering (Part A)
Therefore, if the injured passengers and victims elected limited tort in the above 2 accidents, they will be deemed to have full tort because the other drivers were intoxicated and will be able to bring a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one was injured in a DUI car accident and would like to discuss your case with a lawyer, feel free to contact Dan J. O'Brien, Esq. @877.944.8396.