Posted by Sansone / Lauber Trial Lawyers on February 15, 2014SHARE IT
Our personal injury law firm has handled dozens of drunk driving car accident claims, and they require an aggressive approach as the aggravated liability of the drunk driving allows an opportunity to maximize the settlement value of the case. See $2,300,000.00 Judgment Against a Drunk Driver in St Louis County. A good car accident lawyer knows to hit the insurance company early and hard with the fact the at fault driver was drunk.
Recently we settled a St Charles County, Missouri case where a drunk driver made a left turn from a parking lot right out into traffic traveling on Veteran’s Memorial Parkway, causing a t-bone type crash. The case settled for $125,000, which is $25,000 over the drunk driver’s insurance policy limits of $100,000.
See police officer diagram below:
The driver was cited for DWI and plead guilty, however, he plead guilty with probation, also called an “SIS” or Suspended Imposition of Sentence. See car accident attorney article: At-Fault driver taking probation plea deal on DWI, discussing the effects of drunk driving criminal charges on your car accident case. In addition to using the admission of drunk driving, through the guilty plea in the criminal case, I believe a good trial lawyer must not only prove the driver was a intoxicated, but that he was very drunk, know how dangerous drunk driving can be, chose to do it anyways, and did not care about the possible harm they would cause. This is important because as dangerous and outrageous drunk driving is, many people on your jury may have done it, might have a DWI, or have a close friend or family member with a DWI. It is also my experience that many jurors will kinda forgive a driver who was just s a little drunk and trying to get home, but not a reckless drunk driver. So it is important to show that the driver knew how dangerous drunk driving was and proceed to do it anyways, ask then things like:
Do you believe drunk driving causes senseless death on the highways?
You knew that before this crash, didn’t you?
You knew this while you were drinking that night? You knew this before you decided to drive after drinking?
Drunk driving results in needless collisions?
Does Drunk driving results in people needlessly getting hurt?
Does Drunk driving results in people needlessly being killed?
Can Needless Injuries or death from a drunk driver can happen to anyone on the road?
Any reasonable defendant will have to agree with all of the statements above, their insurance defense lawyer may object like crazy, but these are facts they cannot run from. This is just a small example of the types of things you need to get the driver to admit to maximize case value. In just about every car accident injury case we handle that involves drunk driving we settle the case for the insurance policy limits or we go to trial.
In the above mentioned $125,000 case, the insurance policy limits were actually only $100,000, however, our aggressive handling of the case put so much pressure on the defendant and the insurance company they settled for $25,000 over and above the amount of insurance. The insurance company paid $100,000 policy limits to a wife that was hurt int he crash. Her husband was in the crash but walked away without a scratch and needed absolutely no medical treatment. However, instead of settling for just the policy limit of $25,000, we pushed a loss of consortium claim and forced an additional $25,000 which was over the policy limit. An amount the insurance company probably did not have to legally pay under their insurance policy with the driver, as that policy was capped at $100,000. Loss of consortium is a claim by a spouse for damages because of their husband’s or wife’s decreased ability to be part of the marital relationship. This includes everything from daily chores to intimacy.
If you have been hurt by a drunk driver in Missouri or Illinois, call our DWI trial lawyers at (314) 863-0500 for a free consultation about your case, or you can submit your case online for immediate review.
It is important to force the driver to answer difficult questions in his deposition, questions that they will look foolish if they deny. Such as, do yo believe drunk drivers needlessly kill people?