DWI in Your Company Vehicle: Is Your Insurance Liable to Cover It?

by Stephanie Wagner on October 23, 2013

  • SumoMe

(U.S. Commercial Law and generally) When you have been involved in a company car accident and are charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), you should rightfully assume that you are going to have many expenses associated with the event. You will need to hire a DWI defense attorney, and you will have many medical and personal expenses associated with the accident. This is particularly true if you own the company.

At-Fault Repercussions

What you may not have considered, however, is the fact that, as the “at-fault” person who caused the accident while driving under the influence, your business insurance provider is not going to cover any expenses related to repairing the car. At this point you will not only need a corporate lawyer to deal with the insurance, you will need a New Jersey drunk driving attorney, to help with court and all other related costs.

Most insurance policies specifically state that if you or your company are involved in an accident where it is determined the policy holder is driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence, most of the benefits of the policy will not be payable. This specifically applies to repairs on the vehicle.

Liens And Related Expenses

When the company car is taken into a repair shop shortly after the accident and prior to you discovering that your business insurer will not cover these costs, you will most likely approve all of the necessary repairs. The mechanic will begin the repair and will expect payment for their services. When it is discovered that the insurer is not paying, there will only be a few options to pay for the repairs and recover car.

If you find that you cannot pay for the repairs on your car, the mechanic will most likely take out a lien against the vehicle and against the company’s assets. A mechanic’s lien gives the mechanic a financial interest in the vehicle and they are allowed to keep the car until such a time that you can either pay for the repairs and related expenses, or the car is sold and the debt is paid.

This chain of events can continue to escalate in all areas of the driver’s life just because they were arrested and/or convicted of a DWI. Croplife states, “Our first candidate was at the executive level for a major crop inputs manufacturing company. He had recently moved to another company and was pulled over and ticketed for DUI. But now he can’t work for most of the major companies in the chemical or seed space, where he has a wealth of experience, because many of those companies have stated “No Tolerance” policies for a DUI on your record.”

Stop The DWI Ripple Effect

An attorney can work diligently towards having your DWI charged dropped or changed to a lesser charge. If this occurs, you are no longer considered a DWI accident case, and your attorney can help you work with the insurance company to cover your expenses related to the accident, including the repairs to your car.

The best option that you can take after you have been ticketed as the at-fault party of a Garden State accident, and one who was driving while intoxicated, is to hire a New Jersey drunk driving attorney. While you will still remain the at-fault driver, and some policies will not cover all expenses because of this distinction, you will be able to get your company car repaired and avoid the mechanics lien.

Stephanie Wagner

Stephanie Wagner

Steph Wagner is a now a journalist who specializes in discussions of legal topics. She gained experience in both the legal and insurance industries through a variety of roles, including working with lawyers in the fields of policy underwriting and personal injury claims.

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