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On Christmas Eve Peter Pung, 18, was hit and killed by a drunk driver. Pung was driving on Golden Given Road East, a road in Tacoma, Washington, when a pickup blew through a stop sign and T-boned Pung’s Honda. The driver of the pickup, Aaaron Wayne Bell, 26, crashed into Pung’s car with such speed it drove the Honda’s passenger-side door into Pung and crushed him against the driver’s side door. According to police, Bell was so intoxicated at the time of the crash that he was hardly capable of speech.

The magnitude and apparent randomness of this tragic accident is hard to wrap the mind around. It reminds us how vulnerable we really are on the roads–not to mention the terrible toll drinking and driving can take this time of year.

It would be interesting to know the circumstances under which Mr. Bell obtained the alcohol and whether he was overserved or sold alcohol while he was visibly intoxicated. If so, there may be others who are legally responsible for this accident.

Someone like Mr. Bell is unlikely to have sufficient insurance or other assets (like a house or a big bank account) to compensate Mr. Pung’s Estate and his family for his loss. It reminds us how important it is to purchase as much personal injury protection (“PIP”) and underinsured/uninsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage as possible. While no amount of insurance or any other source of money is really sufficient in a case involving death, it can provide much-needed compensation for medical bills and other damages where a victim sustains non-fatal injuries.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.

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