A Honda Civic (2094 pounds) speeds down the freeway at over 90 miles per hour. In front of the Honda Civic is a Ford Ranger (4800 pounds) traveling at the speed limit in the same lane. The Honda Civic strikes the Ford Ranger. Conventional wisdom would put the Civic as a crumpled heap on the side of the road. In reality, the Ford Ranger flipped 7 times (landing right-side up) while the Honda Civic continued driving and had to be pulled off the road by a police officer. The driver of the Honda was charged with a DUI.
Drunk drivers often cause more severe wrecks. In this case the driver of the Ford Ranger did nothing wrong to cause an accident. Our client in the Ford Ranger had to be pried from the wreckage of his vehicle with the Jaws of Life following the impact. He was lucky not to be killed. Our client suffered from low back pain and a modest amount of medical bills. More concerning than his physical injuries were his emotional injuries: our client suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of being hit by the drunk driver. He suffered from recurring nightmares of being hit by drunk drivers and required psychological counseling to work through these issues. Psychological issues, such as PTSD, are not always readily apparent to sufferers. Only through the careful listening of his attorney did our client realize that he could seek care for his PTSD from a psychology professional.
In an accident involving a drunk driver, it is often the case that the intoxicated driver has a low limit of liability insurance, or even no coverage. Drunk drivers typically cause more harm than a sober driver and they cause a disproportionately large number of accidents each year. For severe injuries that result in hospitalization for several days in a trauma center, such as Harborview in Seattle, the medical bills will be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Thus, it is recommended that responsible drivers have a high limit of underinsured motorist coverage. The driver of the Ford Ranger was able to obtain a $150,000 recovery through Scott McDonald and Associates because he had the foresight to carry underinsured motorist coverage.