If a drunk driver damages another driver’s vehicle, the drunk driver’s insurance company must pay either the repair costs for the other driver’s vehicle or the market value to the other driver’s vehicle.
Impaired drivers present a hazard to other drivers, pedestrians, and even people who are not on the road at all. Property damage resulting from drunk driving can be expensive – and in the case of irreplaceable heirlooms, absolutely heartbreaking. The law provides protections for victims of property damage caused by drunk driving.
Laws Surrounding Property Damage from Drunk Driving
Like other states, New Mexico imposes penalties for property damage caused by drunk driving. For drivers who have insurance, the insurance company covers the costs. It should be noted that in New Mexico, insurance companies are not necessarily required to pay the full costs associated with property damage associated with drunk driving. For instance, if a drunk driver damages another driver’s vehicle, the drunk driver’s insurance company must pay either the repair costs for the other driver’s vehicle or the market value to the other driver’s vehicle before the collision occurred.
Owners and operators of public establishments, such as bars or restaurants, can also be held liable under New Mexico’s dram shop laws (New Mexico Statutes Annotated, section 41-11-1) if the victim can show that the drunk driver was served alcohol even though he or she appeared intoxicated. Social hosts may also be held liable for knowingly serving alcohol to someone who was intoxicated and later got behind the wheel of a car.
Drunk drivers may also be required to reimburse municipalities for the costs of emergency services related to accidents that result from drunk driving. This includes the costs for paramedics as well as for the police who arrest the drunk driver.
Rights of Victims of Property Damage from Drunk Driving
Victims of property damage caused by drunk driving are entitled to compensation. This compensation may come from the drunk driver’s insurance policy, from the drunk driver’s personal assets, or from third parties found to have acted in a negligent manner that contributed to the victim’s losses. In some cases, compensation may be obtained from multiple sources.
Have you suffered property damage as the result of a drunk driver?