Posted on behalf of Anderson Cummings on Oct 07, 2021 in Auto Accidents
As the U.S. has seen a sharp increase in the number of people overdosing on drugs in the last several years, it raises an important question about how accidents caused by drugged drivers are being handled, especially by the insurance companies that represent these impaired drivers.
If you were injured by a driver suspected of being under the influence of drugs, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages, so long as you can prove your injuries were a direct result of these negligent actions.
Our Fort Worth car crash lawyers are ready to help you pursue the compensation you need for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim.
If you are involved in an accident, it is generally a good idea to dial 9-1-1 to get emergency responders to the scene of the accident. Not only will responding emergency crews be able to provide medical assistance to injured parties, but they may also help keep those involved out of harm’s way.
Additionally, a law enforcement officer’s job is to gather evidence at the scene of an accident to determine who was at fault and whether there were any traffic violations, including driving under the influence of drugs. If the police officer suspects drug use, he or she may subject the driver to an evaluation or a field sobriety test. The results, or even the refusal of a test, should be included in a police report, which you may later access and use as evidence in your case.
In addition to having police respond to the scene of the accident to file a police report, it is important to speak to any potential witnesses. A person who saw the incident may be able to say whether the at-fault driver was violating traffic laws or driving erratically, which could prompt a police officer to conduct a field drug test.
Eyewitness statements may also support facts that help your case, especially if the at-fault driver is denying any wrongdoing. For example, if a witness at the scene saw the at-fault driver hide or throw out drug paraphernalia, but the at-fault driver is denying he or she was using drugs, the witness’s statement may bolster your claim.
Physical Evidence at the Scene
Although evidence gathering should mostly be left up to the professionals, such as the police responding to the scene, there is nothing holding you back from taking photos and videos. In some instances, you may be able to get a good look into the at-fault driver’s vehicle to see whether there are any drugs or drug paraphernalia. If you do find evidence of drug use, it may be a good idea to take photos of what you see to support your claim.
However, it is important to note that a person who is under the influence of drugs is not likely to be rational, especially if they realize you are trying to collect physical evidence that may prove their liability. Be sure to only collect physical evidence yourself if it is safe to do so.
What if the Insurance Company Denies Liability?
The insurance company may try to deny liability for the accident in several ways. They may claim their client was not responsible for the crash and therefore they are not liable, or they may try to pin the blame on you. Fortunately, with help from our experienced lawyers, you may be able to prove the other driver was under the influence of drugs when the crash occurred, making the insurance company liable for your damages.
However, the insurance company may still try to deny you compensation by claiming that the at-fault driver was intentionally putting himself or herself in a dangerous situation by doing drugs and driving a car. As intentional actions are not covered by insurance, the insurer would not be legally obligated to pay for your damages.
While it is true that willful acts are generally not covered by insurance companies, it is important to note that the only act the at-fault driver willingly committed was to take drugs. He or she did not intend to get into a car accident that caused injury to another party. Therefore, the insurance company would be obligated to pay for your damages or risk being sued by their own insured for bad faith.
With help from our knowledgeable attorneys, you may still be able to recover the compensation you need, even if the insurance company tries to deny your claim.
Can I Sue the Drugged Driver?
The simple answer to this is yes, but there is a legal process to understand.
Most car accident claims are settled out of court through negotiations with the insurance company, but when those negotiations fail to reach a settlement agreement, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit.
In Texas, you may only sue your own insurance company, so when you do file a lawsuit for damages from an accident, you are directly suing the at-fault driver in the case, but the damages are paid by his or her liability insurance policy.
Let Us Help. Call Today
Were you involved in an accident with a suspected drugged driver? You may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
Our experienced attorneys are prepared to discuss your claim during a free consultation to see what legal options may be available to you.
Call us today to see how we can help: (817) 920-9000.