Does an arrest of the alleged at-fault driver affect the victim’s personal injury claim? This is asked often as drivers get arrested for impairment, eluding police, reckless driving and a stolen vehicle, to name a few. The answer is no and yes. It depends on the circumstances and the charge.
For example, if the car was stolen, then the insurance company for either the driver of the car will not pay for any damages done by the thief. But for other crimes like DUI and reckless driving, the insurance company should pay.
Man Charged with Manslaughter in Semi-Truck Car Collision:
A recent example occurred in Fresno on Friday, December 6, 2019, when the driver of a semi-truck pulled out into the path of another vehicle. The California Highway Patrol says the accident happened when a big rig turned from South Reed Avenue onto E. Adams Avenue near Reedley in Fresno County causing a Ford Bronco to slam into the side of the semi.
The driver of the Bronco was rushed to the hospital where he later died from his injuries. The CHP says that neither alcohol nor drugs were a factor, however, the truck driver faces misdemeanor charges of vehicular manslaughter.
So why does a stolen car void an insurance policy but a DUI or a vehicular manslaughter charge does not? All three or criminal acts. The difference is a long-standing rule that insurance can’t be used to reward intentional conduct. It would be sort of like starting a fire then claiming insurance because your house burned down. Most people don’t intend to get in their car and kill someone or injure someone while drunk. However, stealing a car is an intentional act and as such can’t be covered by the person who drives the vehicle.
I know what you’re thinking, what about the insurance policy of the owner of the car? Can’t that be used to cover damages from the owner’s car? The answer is still no because legally the owner of a stolen vehicle is not responsible for any damages done by the thief, and thus the insurance company does not have to cover those damages.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist’s Coverage:
So if you’re injured by a stolen vehicle, are you out of luck? In some cases you are, however, if you have insurance that covers you for injuries done to you, then you can get compensation. In California, many drivers have uninsured and underinsured motorist’s coverage which is designed to pay the insured person for any damages they incur from an accident when there is no other insurance available.
Contact a Fresno Car Accident Lawyer.
After any accident involving a serious injury, contact Fresno personal injury lawyer Martin Gasparian for a free consultation and case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian takes a hands-on approach to every case. He believes that every client should work directly with their lawyer, get honest advice and the personalized attention to detail their case deserves.