A drunk uninsured driver totaled my financed vehicle. Now I'm paying for their irresponsibility. Do I have any legal options?

Asked 11 months ago - Covina, CA

After hitting my vehicle the drunk driver fled the scene and was later pursed by police. I have reported the claim to my insurance company now I'm stuck with the deducible and since the insurance company reported my vehicle a total loss I'm left with no vehicle. I lost so much from an accident that wasn't even my fault and I feel the drunk driver got away without any liability. How can the law let people get away with things like this?

Attorney answers (13)

  1. Fernando Davin Vargas

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

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    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . You have two options: 1) Seek restitution for your deductible and other out of pocket expenses from the drunk driver through the District Attorney's office; or 2) file a lawsuit in small claims court against the drunk driver to recover these losses. If you pursue the driver in small claims court, remember to ask the Judge to award you your costs of filing and serving the lawsuit. Finally, note that the driver will not get away because in addition to facing criminal charges, your insurance company will sue him seeking to recover the sums the pay you to cover your vehicle. Best of luck!

    Information posted or made available on or through the Site, including without limitation any responses to legal... more
  2. Sharon Paris Babakhan

    Contributor Level 15

    19

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes it is called restitution. The person who hit your or your fiance's car will pay to the last penny. You need to contact the district attorney's office where the drunk guy has the DUI case, let the DA know that the are damages, give them your receipts, they will hold a Restitution Hearing and that way you could get your money back without getting it from your insurance and paying the deductible.

  3. Robert Bruce Kopelson

    Contributor Level 20

    18

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If the drunk had auto ins, or if the car was owned by someone else with ins, you can make a claim for your deductible and loss of use/rental car. If no ins, you can sue in small claims court, or seek restitution in the criminal matter. Let the prosecutor know about your losses. A restitution order becomes a judgment that can be enforced. If the deft has nothing, you may not have easy time collecting.

  4. Michael Shemtoub

    Contributor Level 17

    17

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Do you have uninsured motorist coverage?

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for... more
  5. Michael Stewart Phillips

    Contributor Level 14

    16

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The law does not let people get away with things like this. Your uninsured motorist coverage for pay for your damages. The deductible is often waived for hit and run damage. Your insurance will also pay for your medical treatment and any pain and suffering. Contact a personal injury lawyer.

    If the other driver was caught, you should hear from the court regarding restitution with interest upon his conviction.

  6. Francis M Smith

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    17

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree, sue him for what you don't get back from your carrier and ask the judge for restitution. In many cases, judges are happy to award restitution, and it may be tied toi getting his license back at the end of the suspension. Good luck!

    Every situation is different, and good legal advice cannot be given based on a short question without an... more
  7. Yaniv Kenan

    Contributor Level 11

    15

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Do you have uninsured motorist insurance?

    The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response is for educational purposes only. I have not... more
  8. Richard Marc Katz

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    15

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The others here have given you fairly good advice. If you were insured then the chances are great you have uninsured motorist coverage. In California such coverage must come with any policy unless it is specifically waived.

    If you had uninsured motorist coverage even if you did not have collision coverage it provides for some minimal property damage. The last time I checked that coverage was $3500. As well, the deductible should be waived because it was an uninsured motorist.

    If the driver who was under the influence will not get away scott free. He will most likely pay a substantial fine and you should contact the prosecutor's office and request that restitution be made part of any "deal." As well, this driver will lose his driving privileges.

    You may want to consult a personal injury attorney who may be able to provide you some assistance and guidance. If you suffered injury, you should not have too much trouble finding a personal injury attorney to represent you.

    The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am... more
  9. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . UM coverage, if you have it, and ask DA for restitution

  10. Manuel Alzamora Juarez

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Get a PI lawyer to adviser you. Best of luck.

    This answer is provided by California Auto Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., These answers are not... more
  11. Maryam Parman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You will likely have to pay for your deductible but if you have comprehensive collision coverage, your insurance company should pay for the value of your car. Did the police find the drunk driver? If so, you can also file a small claims action against the uninsured driver. Also, take a look at your insurance policy to see whether you have uninsured motorist coverage, if so, this should pay for your damages. Seek medical care if needed for the accident, your insurance should also pay for this treatment and any pain and suffering. I suggest that you contact a local personal injury attorney to assist you throughout this process as it is complex and time consuming. You will be provided with a free consultation and will not charge you unless you win! Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  12. Scott J. Corwin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As you can tell, the key word here is restitution. As you can imagine, our justice system does not allow people to simply smash other people's cars drunkenly and vanish into legal amnesty so easily. If you have not already, you may want to have a free consultation with an motor vehicle accident attorney to get a better understanding of what is included in restitution. Best of luck.

  13. Eric P. Pitsch

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with counsel's response..

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