Deadly crash on First Hill

Seattle first hill crash

A three-vehicle crash just after midnight on Wednesday left one driver dead and another in police custody. An Acura sedan speeding on James Street slammed into a Toyota Prius, and both cars collided with an ambulance. The crash happened in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, where residential streets surround three of the city’s biggest hospitals.

The driver of the Prius was pronounced dead at the scene. Everyone in the ambulance, including a patient being transported to a local hospital, survived the crash without injuries.

Police arrested the driver of the Acura for investigation of vehicular homicide. They believe that he was showing signs of impairment after the crash. Before being booked into King County Jail, he was taken to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries that he sustained in the crash. 

Who pays for victims’ expenses after drunk driving crashes?

After a vehicular homicide, a victim’s grieving family is left picking up the pieces and struggling to deal with the expenses of funeral arrangements, grief counselling, and loss of their loved one’s financial and emotional support. Even when the victim survives a crash with a drunk driver, the bills can be staggering; medical bills can eat into the savings of someone who may have to take substantial time off work or may not even be able to return to their former job.

Fortunately, victims of drunk drivers have several different options for financial help.

Crime Victims Compensation Program

Most states have pools of money set aside for helping the victims of violent crimes. Washington State’s program can be found here. The fund may cover:

  • Some funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses incurred as the result of the crime
  • Grief counseling
  • Mental health treatment

There are limits on how much the Crime Victims Compensation Program is able to cover. If a victim receives money from a jury verdict or settlement in a civil case, they may be expected to pay this program back.

Personal Injury Protection

Personal Injury Protection is a type of coverage offered by a victim’s own automobile insurance company. It covers certain types of damages up to a certain amount, and may be “exhausted” before your full expenses are paid for. If you have PIP coverage, you may still be able to use it even if you weren’t behind the wheel of your car, but you were involved in an accident with a car. PIP can cover:

  • Some funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses incurred as the result of an accident
  • Medical bills
  • Some of the income you lost as a result of being unable to work due to injuries

Third Party Liability Insurance

Drivers in Washington State are legally required to carry some type of automobile insurance. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they do; someone who is willing to get behind the wheel drunk may be flouting the law in other ways as well. Liability coverage can cover:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Other damages, such as pain and suffering

UM/UIM Coverage

If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage through your own insurance company, you may be able to use this type of coverage if the person who hit you did not have insurance or did not have enough insurance to cover the full amount of your damages. This type of coverage “stacks” on top of the other coverage that you have available.

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