In my last post, we discussed an incident in which a drunk, wrong way driver caused 9 different motor vehicle wrecks on I 85 in Atlanta. Obviously, the fact that this guy was drunk in the middle of the afternoon suggests that he might have some alcohol problems. If he has previous arrests for drunk driving, then he may have minimum insurance, no insurance or insurance with a low rated carrier.
What about the 9+ victims? How are their cases resolved if there are multiple injured victim’s suing for limited insurance proceeds? Suppose the drunk driver has a 25/50 policy. The drunk driver’s attorney may file an “interpleader” action, whereby he tenders the total policy limits of $50,000 to the court and asks the court to apportion the proceeds. The drunk driver’s attorney could also individually negotiate with each victim. Either way, some or all of these victims will not be fully compensated.
Can the victims sue the drunk driver for more money irrespective of the policy limits? Sure, assuming he has any money. There is also the possibility that the driver has other insurance on other vehicles or, if he was on duty at the time, that his employer could be held liable. How do you find out all the liability insurance available? Read the accident report first. If you cannot identify additional policies, then contact an drunk driving accident attorney.
The best protection against a drunk driver who has zero regard for others however, is a good uninsured or underinsured insurance policy. Do not ever skimp on UM coverage. I have the maximum UM insurance I could obtain. I have seen people with $1,000,000 in liability insurance who have only $25,000 in UM. Big mistake. A bad driver with multiple DUIs is most likely to have no insurance, minimum limits insurance or simply have a poorly rated insurance company. You need protection from bad drivers.
Protect yourself by maxing out on UM. It is relatively inexpensive coverage and a great value.