Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the offenses that attracts a number of serious legal repercussions. This is with good reason, since the behavior could lead to an accident at any time, with DWI accidents injuring thousands of individuals and causing death in the thousands annually within the United States. The NHTSA estimates that about 28 people die every day in drunk-driving accidents in the US. With DWI-related accidents having such massive fatalities, a number of legal problems arise when you are caught behind the wheel while drunk. So, when you are involved in a DWI-related accident, whether you were the party at fault or not, it is quite normal to wonder about the potential insurance-related consequences. Read on to get more details about whether your insurance claim could be denied after the DWI-related mishap.
DWI Insurance Claims Denial
A typical car insurance package covers any accident whereby the motorist (or any other individual covered under the package) is negligent while behind the wheel and causes an accident. This includes, depending on what the policy states, when the covered individual is grossly reckless or negligent while on the road. However, there is no coverage for accidents that arise because of intentional behavior.
Surprisingly, insurance firms will most likely cater to the cost of repairs arising out of accidents that resulted due to an individual driving while inebriated. In fact, in most instances, they handle DUI accidents in a similar manner to the way they handle all other types of accidents. This means that they will pay out the repairs expenses as stipulated by your coverage limits.
Even though most insurers cover DWI-related mishaps, they rarely cover other behaviors that could be taken as an intentional breach of the law. If you purposely light up your car, for instance, the cost of the resultant damages will not be covered. Insurers typically fail to cover such an act as it is considered to be insurance fraud.
Driving after consuming drugs or drinking too much alcohol is illegal in Texas. However, in the case of a DWI, any resulting mishaps are considered accidents. This is because, while you might have known that it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol, you probably never intended to get into an accident. In the case of lighting up your car, the act is completely intentional and you knew the result of setting up your car on fire. A DUI is slightly different because even though you knew you were doing something illegal, you had zero intentional plans of getting into a collision.
Some car insurance providers, however, love to argue that driving while under the influence is intentional conduct, in an effort to avoid paying for damages after car accidents. Their argument here is majorly about the fact that you intentionally put yourself in the position to get into an accident– i.e., you intentionally drank alcohol, you intentionally got inebriated, you intentionally got into your car and behind the wheel while inebriated, while knowing (or at least ought to have known) that driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous.
If you cause a collision while driving under the influence, your insurance company will, at the least, investigate your accident’s circumstances before agreeing to take up liability for any losses. When the insurer insists that the accident was a result of your intentional behavior, they may refuse to defend you and even refuse to pay for the resultant damages. This is particularly the case when you are trying to pay for the injuries sustained by the other drivers or passengers. However, they are highly likely to accept your claim for vehicle damage offered under collision coverage.
When your insurer denies you bodily injury coverage, it may be a great choice to get a lawyer to try and persuade them to reverse their decision.
Limitation of Coverage Due To a DUI
While your insurance provider could agree to cover the damages related to your DWI accident, they will still refuse to defend you against an intentional misconduct claim, or cover the damages relating to an intentional misconduct claim.
As you might know, the failure to act with reasonable caution or carelessness, which is known as the fault concept of negligence, is used to assess most personal injury claims. This is because most individuals and companies never act intentionally aiming to injure others. However, there are certain occasional scenarios where intentional tort can occur, which is when someone acts with the intention of causing harm.
Sometimes an attorney involved in a personal injury case that resulted from a DUI could add a claim for intentional misconduct to get more compensation from the liable driver. When such a case goes to trial and the plaintiff wins, the defendant will have to pay damages for their intentional misconduct. In such a case, the defendant’s insurer will not pay for the damages. This means that the defendant will need to cater to the said costs out of their own pocket. In an intentional conduct charge, the financial repercussions are similar to those for driving without insurance.
Can My Motorist Insurance Get Canceled Due to a DWI Accident?
Any insurer considers a driver who has had a DUI conviction as a bad risk. Why would they offer insurance to a bad risk? This is why they would rather cancel your insurance. However, with insurance being highly regulated in most states, it is not always possible for the insurers to cancel the coverage they offer to DWI-convicted drivers. However, in Texas and other states where they are permitted to cancel the coverage, you should always assume that they will do so.
If they fail to cancel your auto insurance after a DUI conviction, you should expect your premium to drastically rise. Additionally, if your old insurer cancels your coverage and you start hunting for a new insurance provider, you should always assume that the new insurer will offer similarly high quotes.
Getting Legal Help After a DWI Accident
A DWI accident could complicate your life in so many ways, especially when there are other parties injured during the incident. However, an insurer should not use your DUI to deny you any coverage they are mandated to offer. This is why you need legal counsel. Your attorney will direct you on the appropriate next course of action after a DWI arrest when there has been an accident. DWI man can help. Going forward on your own could leave you paying hefty expenses on your own. Contact us today for a free consultation.