Attorney David J. King


Will car insurance cover drunk driving crashes?

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2023 | Car Accidents

It is against the law in South Dakota, as in every other state, to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking. The state imposes a per se limit that can lead to technical citations, and those who cause crashes are often subject to chemical testing as part of the investigation process.

Drunk driving is a very dangerous decision, and you may have a history of consistently making smart choices when it comes to alcohol. You know that you shouldn’t drive after drinking and give yourself plenty of time to metabolize any drink you may have before leaving a bar or a party.

Unfortunately, not everyone in South Dakota is as responsible as you. Drunk drivers cause a large number of crashes. They hurt and sometimes kill people. Given that everyone knows drunk driving is against the law, you probably expect the state to prosecute the person who caused your recent crash. Does their decision to break the law prevent you from filing an insurance claim?

Insurance will often still apply despite misconduct

If liability coverage only protected those who perfectly followed South Dakota traffic laws, many people hurt in crashes would not have the coverage they need to pay their hospital bills or fix their vehicles. With certain rare exceptions, you can expect that a driver’s insurance policy will cover at least some of your crash expenses in a drunk driving collision.

However, they may not pay the full amount of your crash losses. The other driver’s policy limits dictate what coverage you receive, and their coverage could be far lower than your total expenses.

A lawsuit may also be an option

Drivers in South Dakota can potentially pursue a personal injury claim against someone who broke the law and then caused financial harm. Drunk drivers often open themselves up to civil litigation when they get behind the wheel after drinking because they broke the law.

While South Dakota does not have a dram shop law that allows you to bring a claim against a business for serving a drunk driver, there could be other third-party claims possible, such as a claim against any employer who had someone driving despite a history of drunk driving. Learning more about crash liability and South Dakota insurance rules can help those affected by a recent motor vehicle collision.