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Who pays when you're hit by a drunk driver?

If a drunk driver hits you while you're driving does your auto insurance have to pay? If that's a question you have, you need to understand how liability works in a traffic accident.

The only way to make sure that you're always covered is to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage covers your medical bills and losses despite the fact that you are not the person who caused an accident. This coverage kicks in if the other person's insurance won't pay you enough or if there is no insurance to cover your injuries or the expenses you have accrued.

In the case that you don't have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you can sue the other party for compensation. The difficulty with this is that if the other person doesn't have enough assets or doesn't have the money to pay you, you may never see the compensation that you want to receive. That could leave you footing the majority of the bill for your accident.

If the driver is covered with insurance, you will need to show that he or she was drunk at the time of your accident. If the police filed a DUI charge, this could help you prove that the other person was drunk at the time of your crash. Even if the other person isn't proven to be intoxicated at the time of the crash, you can still seek compensation. There may be other factors like distractions, reckless driving or negligence that work in your favor.

Remember that if neither of you have insurance, both of you could be in trouble with the law. While one person will still be at fault for the accident, not carrying insurance can lead to criminal charges.

Source: Car Insurance Comparison, "If a drunk driver damaged my car will my auto insurance pay?," accessed Oct. 13, 2016

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