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In 2001, more than half a million people were injured in motor vehicle accidents with a drunk or impaired driver. This averages out to be an astonishing one person injured almost every single minute! Drivers who choose to drive drunk put themselves and everyone around them at risk. Injuries from an automobile accident with a drunk driver can range from broken bones and burns to traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Tragically, every year, thousands of people lose their lives in devastating drunk driving accidents. In 2007 alone, 13,041 people were killed due to a drunk driver's negligence.

Contrary to what some people think, serious criminal violations often make a wrongful death or personal injury claim more difficult.  Often an insurance company will attempt to deny coverage under a "criminal acts exclusion" or "intentional acts exclusion" in an insurance policy.  As such, it is important to characterize most claims in terms of negligence, or recklessness rather than intentional or criminal.  When alcohol or drugs are a factor in causing a motor vehicle accident, punitive damages or exemplary damages may be available. Punitive damages may be awarded by judges and juries for behavior which is willful, wanton or reckless - simply stated this means extremely bad behavior. Unfortunately, virtually all insurance policies will not provide coverage for punitive damages claims.

Other types of claims will be covered by insurance.  These include claims for things such as pain and suffering, disability, lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.  In fact, a skilled personal injury lawyer may be able to convince an insurance company or insurance adjuster to pay more on the covered claims based on the fact that liability is aggravated.  Simply stated, a jury is more likely to award a greater amount for pain and suffering just because they do not like the drunk driver defendant.


Sometimes a drunk driver will flee the scene of an accident and the main problem in hit-and-run accidents is finding the driver at fault. Sometimes careful investigation can lead us to the hit-and-run driver, but more often it's necessary to file a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.

In hit-and-run cases, your own insurer fills the shoes of the defendant and basically tries to minimize the driver's fault, prove negligence on your own part, or deny the extent of your damages. The same procedure applies to miss-and-run cases — accidents caused by an unidentified driver whose own vehicle avoids the collision. In these cases, your own insurance company is not your friend, and may not even be a good neighbor – often these insurers need to be reminded of bad faith laws.

In addition to filing a lawsuit against the drunk driver, your attorney may be able to assist you in obtaining money from your insurance company, as well as filing for disability benefits if you are eligible.

More Drunk Driving Related Information:

Blood Alcohol Testing

Young Drivers and Alcohol

Drunk Driving Statistics


This website is not meant to serve as legal advice of any kind and is only intended for informational, educational, and entertainment purposes only. As Personal Injury Law varies from state to state we recommend you seek legal advice from an attorney or law firm in your state. The information used on this website is copyrighted and used with permission by Dallas Norton, Esq. Denver's Personal Injury Attorney serving personal injury victims in Denver Metro Area and all of Colorado