Drunk drives into house. Who should pay?

Real Estate Agent with sales representative : Keller Williams Experience Realty

A call this evening to a friend I haven't talked to in a while began with "Hey what the hell happened to your fence?" The townhouse she lives in backs onto Mapleview Avenue in the south end of town where I happened be be driving earlier in the day. These  homes were built with deep back yards of about 70 feet or more to buffer the road noise and additionally, at the back of these lots the city erected eight foot high wooden fencing  when the area was developed.

As I drove past I noticed a section of fence about 16 feet wide was gone and in its place was a neon orange mesh construction fence about four feet high over which I could now easily see the back walls and patio doors of my friends place, as well as her neighbours place. The neighbours place had plywood sheets covering, or more aptly, replacing a large portion of the  back wall.

My friend proceeded to tell me about the night a few weeks back when she awoke to the loud bang of what she thought sounded like a significant accident which was in fact the sound of a drunk driver coming through her fence followed a couple seconds later by an even louder house shaking crash which was the speeding car coming to an abrupt stop partway through the back wall of her neighbours townhouse.

A few weeks and many phone calls to police, city official and insurance companies later it looks like my friend, not the drunk driver, is responsible for the cost of replacing the destroyed fence. Her homeowners insurance policy should cover it but the claim is likely to increase her insurance premiums. When it comes to insurance rarely do I see fairness or even logic used as determining factors.

My thinking is if I get drunk then get behind the wheel then proceed to drive into someones house then I should be responsible for any damages or injuries I cause. That is the logic I was raised on, but this is not the case. I suppose my friend will just have to be grateful her dog was not in the yard when this happened, not that he would have been hit, , no, he is one fast little mutt, he would have jumped to safety but he might have bit the drunk drivers ankles as he staggered out of his crunched car in which case my friend could have ended up being sued. It is an odd world we live in at times. At least the parts of it we are responsible for creating.



Posted by

 Mike Montague


Barrie Power of Sale Listings

Barrie home values



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Wendy Hayden
Photographer, Home Stager, ePRO - Richmond, VA
Chesterfield, Richmond & Powahatan

What a ridiculous thing to happen.  I can't believe that the Drunk Driver is getting away with not paying.  What if he had killed someone.....  Glad you friend and her neighbors are ok.

Jun 16, 2010 03:02 PM #1
Jon Budish
Resident Realty - Fort Collins, CO

The drunk driver has to pay for it! The homeowners insurance should pay to have it repaired, then go after the driver to recover their costs.

Jun 16, 2010 03:08 PM #2
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


The insurer of the drunk driver is still responsible. That doesn't mean that they will front end tyhe cost of repairs in a timely fashion, But, ultimately, they will reimburse the cost of repairs.


Jun 17, 2010 12:55 AM #3
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

Mike - it's no wonder we have so many lawsuits as insurance companies try to duck out of the responsibility of paying claims against their insured. The home owners insurance should not have to pay or go after the car insurance company but in order to get it fixed in a timely manner that may well be the case.

Jun 17, 2010 06:34 AM #4
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