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Will a drunk driver’s auto insurance cover your losses?

If you’re injured in a crash caused by another driver, you depend on their insurance coverage to help cover your medical bills, damage to your vehicle and other financial losses. Many Ohio drivers still have uninsured/underinsured coverage to help out if an at-fault driver has no coverage or too little coverage to adequate adequately compensate them.

However, what if the driver who caused your crash was impaired by drugs or alcohol? Will their insurance still pay the injured parties? In most cases, yes.

Unless a policy excludes drunk or impaired driving crashes (which is rare and not allowed in many states), it will cover victims of a crash caused by their policyholder. The drunk driver may well lose their insurance coverage if they’re convicted of operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) or another impaired driving-related charge. However, as long as they were insured at the time of the crash, you should be covered up to whatever the policy limits are.

A criminal case can help your settlement

As with any crash, you may still need to show that the other driver was indeed the one responsible for it. However, if they’re arrested for OVI (and certainly, if they plead guilty), this should provide enough evidence for their insurer to pay up.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a drunk or drugged driver to be driving without a valid license or without any insurance. That’s why it’s always wise to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. 

Taking action in civil court

Of course, you also have the option of holding a drunk driver (or any at-fault driver) civilly liable if injuries are so catastrophic that insurance won’t be enough to pay for them. Under Ohio’s Dram Shop Act, you may also be able to hold a restaurant or other establishment where they were overserved liable.

If you have been seriously injured or a loved one has been killed by a drunk driver, don’t rush into a settlement no matter how anxious the insurance company is to close out the matter. In many cases, you only have one chance to get the settlement you need. Having experienced legal guidance can help ensure that you get the compensation and justice you deserve.