You would think that in this day and age with all of the publicity against drunken driving, along with the stiff sentencing that takes place in our Court system, that we would see less drunken driving cases. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Many of you would just read this article and just shake your head about the unnecessary injuries caused by this drunken driver that was driving recklessly. However, as a lawyer, I cannot help but think of a few things.
First, most drunks usually just do not have full coverage. If they have prior infractions or a prior DUI, they most likely only have the minimal $10,000 bodily injury limits since they cannot afford anything else. I picked up on something from this article that only an experienced trial lawyer would discern. The article indicated that the two people were attempting to get into a Corvette at the time of the crash when they were hit. Case law in Florida regarding uninsured motorist coverage states that if a person is in a vehicle, then they would get the coverage of that vehicle even though they were not on the policy. This is known as a Class II Insured. Furthermore, case law construing that statute indicates that if a person is alighting from an insured vehicle, or getting into an insured vehicle, that uninsured motorist coverage may apply.
Some of the cases dwell on the factual issue of whether or not the person was touching the vehicle at the time of the crash. Therefore, there is a possibility that there could be extra, hidden coverage in this particular instance through the Corvette, whether the people owned that vehicle or not. Since one of the people was transported in critical condition to the hospital, the medical bills will be very high and any insurance coverage available would be beneficial.
Obviously, suing the drunken driver himself would be a waste of time since one cannot get blood out of a turnip. At the same time, if he is convicted of DUI, then that would be in the criminal court system and the prosecutor could set up a restitution hearing before the trial judge to get an Order for any out-of-pocket medical bills, property damage, and such. That would be part of probation. Once again if the defendant does not have a job or goes to prison, then it would still be fairly meaningless.
Our law firm specializes in representing auto accident victims and we pursue all injury cases whether they were caused by a drunken driver or not. We have five offices throughout the Panhandle; specifically Pensacola, Milton, Crestview, Fort Walton, and Navarre. We can be reached at our main number of (850) 434-3333 or you can visit us on the web at www.grossandschuster.com.
Read more on the news report in Pensacola News Journal.