August 17th, 2013

Drinking, Assaults & Homeowners’ Insurance

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People who commit assaults can be held criminally and civilly liable. The same goes for those who get drunk and get into fights or otherwise harm innocent people.

The most common type of situation is drunk driving. Someone who drinks alcohol and gets behind the wheel can be criminally prosecuted for a DUI or DWI. In addition, a drunk driver who causes an accident and injures another person can be held civilly liable. In such a situation, the drunk driver’s car insurance company will be involved in the case and will probably be required to indemnify the drunk driver (i.e., pay the victim up to the amount of the bodily liability coverage purchased on the drunk driver’s car insurance policy).

Drinking & Civil Liability for Assaults in Pennsylvania

Similarly, when a drunk person causes injury in an assault case, they may also face civil liability under Pennsylvania negligence law. The most common situation involves a fight. For example, a drunk person who gets into a fight and injures another may be sued in a civil lawsuit. Like in a drunk driving car accident case where the drunk driver’s car insurance company gets involved, in a drunken assault case, the drunk person’s homeowners’ insurance company may get involved.

Suggested reading: Financial Recovery in Personal Injury & Accident Cases – Homeowners’ Insurance Coverage

Most people are surprised to learn that homeowners’ insurance coverage may apply in an assault case. The reason is this – homeowners’ insurance works like a general liability or negligence policy, and covers a homeowner’s act of negligence. Even though it is called “homeowners’ insurance,” the coverage follows not only the insured property, but also the homeowner and the homeowner’s household members (i.e., spouse, son, daughter, etc.). In other words, a homeowners’ insurance policy often applies to events/accidents outside the home or off the insured property. However, every homeowners’ insurance policy is different, so it is important to actually review the policy language.

Therefore, in a drunk assault case, the drunk person’s homeowners’ insurance policy may provide coverage. Accordingly, the assault victim may be able to receive financial compensation by way of the drunk person’s homeowners’ insurance policy, up to the amount of the liability limits purchased.

For example, let’s say a homeowner gets drunk and while out walking around, assaults a passerby, breaking the person’s nose and arm. The injured victim would be able to file both criminal and civil cases. The drunk person/homeowner has a homeowners’ insurance policy with a standard $100,000 liability limit. This means that in the civil case, the drunk person’s homeowners’ insurance company may be required to pay up to $100,000 to the injured victim.

Related alcohol liability articles:

Pennsylvania & New Jersey Alcohol Accident/Liability Lawyers

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