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

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. 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!

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  2. 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. 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 exploration of all the facts that may bear on your situation. This is not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship has been established.


  4. Do you have uninsured motorist coverage?

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  5. 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.


  6. 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 met with you and I am not knowledgeable about the specific details of your case. Each case is unique and different. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you contact and meet with a licensed criminal defense attorney to discuss your specific circumstances. In addition, an attorney-client relationship is not created by virtue of this response.


  7. 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.


  8. 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 only licensed in the State of California and I am not providing you with specific legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances and/or the jurisdiction where you reside. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. The information provided is of a general nature is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Your question, although you may believe is simple, it is not simple. You require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.


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


  10. 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 intended to form an attorney client relationship. Manuel Juarez. Esq., is licensed only in California. He practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, Manuel A. Juarez es licenciado solo en California.


  11. 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. 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. I agree with counsel's response..

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