Property Damage Resulting from Drunk Driving

dui with property damage

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.

Common Types of Property Damage Due to a DUI

Drunk driving accidents can cause devastating property damage. The force behind a DUI crash, combined with impaired judgment and reaction time, often results in severe damage to various types of property. 

Here are some common types of property damage that can occur due to a DUI:

  • Vehicles: One of the most obvious forms of property damage in a drunk driving accident is damage to vehicles involved in the crash. Whether it’s a fender-bender or a high-speed collision, the impact can cause significant damage to cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles. Crumpled metal, shattered windows, and broken parts are all potential consequences of a DUI accident.

  • Structures: Drunk drivers often veer off the road and crash into structures such as buildings, houses, fences, or guardrails. The impact can cause substantial damage to these structures, leading to repair costs or even complete destruction in some cases. The force of the collision can knock down walls, damage foundations, and leave the property vulnerable to further damage. Businesses, homes, and other physical properties can suffer costly damage due to drunk drivers.

  • Roadside Infrastructure: DUI accidents can also result in damage to roadside infrastructure, such as traffic signs, light poles, guardrails, and barriers. Impaired drivers might swerve off the road and crash into these fixtures, causing them to be knocked down or significantly damaged. Repairing or replacing this infrastructure is not only costly but also necessary to ensure the safety of other drivers on the road.

The aftermath of a DUI accident can be financially overwhelming, and not just because of injuries and medical bills. Dealing with property damage, insurance claims, and legal proceedings can be incredibly challenging. That’s why you should always consult with an experienced drunk driving accident attorney from Parnall Law who can guide you through the process and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

We can assess the extent of the property damage, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent your best interests in court if necessary. 

What Happens If You Get a DUI With Property Damage?

If you or another driver is caught driving under the influence and causes property damage, the consequences can be severe. Being involved in a DUI accident is a serious offense, and it is important to understand what can happen in this situation.

First and foremost, you must prioritize the safety of yourself and others at the scene. If there are any injuries, immediately seek medical attention and contact the authorities. Once the immediate safety concerns are addressed, you may be wondering about the legal repercussions.

A DUI with property damage can result in both criminal charges and civil liability. From a criminal perspective, a driver could face charges such as driving under the influence, reckless driving, or even vehicular manslaughter if there were fatalities involved. 

These charges can lead to fines, probation, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs, and even imprisonment. Additionally, a DUI conviction can have a long-lasting impact on a criminal record and future employment prospects.

In terms of civil liability, if a driver is found to be at fault for the accident, they may be responsible for paying for the property damage caused. This can include repairs to damaged vehicles, structures, or other property. Further, insurance companies may refuse to cover damages caused by a DUI accident, leaving the driver personally liable for the costs.

Given the severity of the legal and financial consequences, it is essential to seek legal representation if you are involved in a DUI accident with property damage. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the legal process, help protect your rights, and advocate for your best interests. They can also help negotiate with insurance companies and potentially reduce the financial burden you may be facing.

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.

Seeking Compensation for Property Damage from Drunk Drivers

One of the key factors in determining the success of your claim is proving negligence on the part of the drunk driver. Your attorney will gather evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and any photographs or videos of the accident scene. This evidence will be used to establish that the driver was intoxicated and that their actions directly caused the damage to your property.

In addition to proving negligence, your attorney will also calculate the value of your property damage. This can include repairs or replacement costs, as well as any additional expenses or losses you may have incurred as a result of the incident.

Retaining a DUI accident attorney for your property damage claim can significantly increase your chances of receiving the full and fair compensation you deserve. They will not only handle the legal aspects of your case but will also negotiate with insurance companies and advocate for your rights.

Don’t let the stress of property damage from a drunk driving incident weigh you down. Seek the help of an experienced attorney from Parnall Law who can guide you through the process and fight for the compensation you are entitled to.

Have you suffered property damage as the result of a drunk driver?

Give us a call today!