The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has ruled in Commonwealth v. Stradley (2012) that in a DUI accident case, the drunk driver must reimburse the insurance company if the company paid the victim restitution. In Stradley, the appellant argued that since the insurance company had already paid for the full amount of the actual loss on his behalf (a sum of $7,900), his order to pay restitution should be vacated.
The Superior Court disagreed, citing the statutory language of 18 Pa.C.S. § 1106:
§ 1106. Restitution for injuries to person or property.
(a) General rule.–Upon conviction for any crime wherein property has been stolen, converted or otherwise unlawfully obtained, or its value substantially decreased as a direct result of the crime, or wherein the victim suffered personal injury directly resulting from the crime, the offender shall be sentenced to make restitution in addition to the punishment prescribed therefor.
(b) Condition of probation or parole.–Whenever restitution has been ordered pursuant to subsection (a) and the offender has been placed on probation or parole, his compliance with such order may be made a condition of such probation or parole.
(c) Mandatory restitution.–
(1) The court shall order full restitution:
(i) Regardless of the current financial resources of the defendant, so as to provide the victim with the fullest compensation for the loss. The court shall not reduce a restitution award by any amount that the victim has received from the Crime Victim’s Compensation Board or other governmental agency but shall order the defendant to pay any restitution ordered for loss previously compensated by the board to the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund or other designated account when the claim involves a government agency in addition to or in place of the board. The court shall not reduce a restitution award by any amount that the victim has received from an insurance company but shall order the defendant to pay any restitution ordered for loss previously compensated by an insurance company to the insurance company.
By following the plain language of the statute, the Superior Court ruled against Stradley, thus affirming the lower court’s order to pay restitution. Fred Stradley must pay Allstate Insurance $7,900 as reimbursement for restitution to the victim. This case should serve as a reminder to those who were involved in a DUI accident, that restitution still must be paid even if an insurance company has already paid it.