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$1 Million Award for Drunken Driver Victim

At our Westmoreland Injury Lawyers law office, there are a number of things that we do better as a law firm dedicated to serving our neighbors right here in Greensburg. While we’re a small  law firm, our experienced and caring personal injury attorneys have the knowledge in a variety of specialties required to win cases and get justice for clients just like you.

Have you been hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault? You’ll take a particular interest in today’s post.

This success story illustrates how our lawyers closely collaborated to get a drunk driving accident victim over $1 million for their injuries by leveraging workers’ compensation benefits, traditional personal injury law focused on auto accidents, and more.


Our client was hit in their car by a drunk driver who crossed over into the opposite lane of travel. It’s important to note that this driver who caused the crash was a repeat DUI offender, and the accident took place not late at night after the bars were closing down, but around 5:30PM—work commuting time in most areas. Scary, right? You never who is sharing the roads with you during your normal daily travels.

Seriously injured in the accident that should have never occurred, it was unclear for a time whether our client would ever walk again. The underinsured motorist coverage on their auto insurance policy was certainly not going to cover the medical bills and costs associated with physical therapy or the client’s lost wages.

In reviewing this case, however, our lawyers immediately recognized several additional opportunities to recover compensation for the client. It would be complicated and involve more than just one attorney’s time, however.

The Challenge

In many cases involving auto injuries, the challenge is the same, though the facts of the accident may be vastly different—finding enough money for the victim and/or their family. Even if all involved parties have auto insurance, limits are often quickly met, and insurance companies will also rush to settle your claim as soon as possible.

This means personal injury lawyers will have to explore other resources to get unfairly injured individuals—like our client in this particular case—more appropriate compensation.

In our work for this drunk driving victim, we were fortunate to have workers’ compensation as a resource since the client was required to drive as part of their job. This helped us help them focus on recovery from their severe injuries while we pursued the at-fault driver in court. Social Security Disability also came into play.

Still, these several sources were not going to total up to enough either. This is where a lesser-used body of law known as dram shop—which allows drunk driving victims and their families to sue retailers and bars for providing alcohol to an individual responsible for causing an accident—comes into play.

Now, dram shop is rarely successful because it relies very heavily on evidence that can be difficult to prove. But we felt confident in our ability to see justice served against the bar where this particular drunk driver had been drinking all day before getting in the car.

Successful Outcome

This case was a great example of when things go well thanks to dogged determination and the willingness of our attorneys to utilize all of their varied experience and leave no stone unturned for a deserving client. As we mentioned earlier, it took the expertise of more than one attorney to work through workers’ compensation, insurance settlements, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, and trial proceedings, but it was well worth the effort of everyone involved from Westmoreland Injury Lawyers.

Luckily, this client had also taken steps to protect themselves “just in case,” which helped make our job easier. And you can take these precautions, too, by having underinsured motorist insurance, which not everyone does. Side note: having state minimum auto insurance coverage is NOT going to serve you well in most accidents, but certainly not in ones that involve uninsured or underinsured drivers. Miraculously, the drunk driver in our case had some insurance, but our victim’s underinsured coverage paid out about $100,000.

In addition to car insurance settlements, our victim’s workers’ compensation coverage and eligibility for SSD helped, and we were also able to recover about $100,000 from the defendant. Our biggest victory, though, came from the dram shop laws working in our favor. Our lawsuit against the drunk driver’s bar netted us about $750,000 for our client.

The bottom line in this case? We literally got every dollar we could for our client, who was very happy and has actually had an excellent recovery from their injuries.

While these types of cases can often take years to fully resolve, here at Westmoreland Injury Lawyers, we know—and promise to our clients—that it’s worth it. Patience and a comprehensive, collaborative approach by skilled personal injury attorneys like ours absolutely pays off. And while much bigger firms often push to settle quickly to pay their own bills, we know this is not the way to get the best outcome for a client.

Westmoreland Injury Lawyers Can Get Results for You, Too

Have you been injured at the hands of a drunk or distracted driver, or do you have questions about workers’ compensation claims? You can trust that our compassionate personal injury lawyers will do whatever it takes to get you the compensation you deserve. Get in touch with us today for a free case review!

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