How To Sue For A Drunk Driving Accident

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Were you injured by a drunk driver? Here's what you need to know to sue for your injuries.

Proof of Intoxication

To successfully sue for a drunk driving accident, you must present evidence that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the incident. This evidence may include police reports detailing the driver's behavior, observations of slurred speech or impaired coordination, breathalyzer or blood test results indicating a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC), witness statements attesting to the driver's state of intoxication, or surveillance footage capturing the driver's behavior before or after the accident.

In most cases, if the drunk driver was criminally charged and convicted, that will be enough to prove intoxication since the burden of proof is higher for criminal cases than it is for civil vehicle accident injury cases.

Comparative Negligence

In some jurisdictions, comparative negligence laws impact the outcome of a lawsuit related to a drunk driving accident. Comparative negligence determines the percentage of fault assigned to each party involved in the accident. While the drunk driver is typically considered primarily responsible, your own actions or contributory negligence may affect the amount of compensation you can recover.

For example, if you were speeding or ran a stop sign, the court might assign a portion of the fault to you. Understanding how comparative negligence laws apply in your jurisdiction is essential since they can impact the final settlement or verdict in your case.

Dram Shop Laws

Certain jurisdictions have dram shop laws that hold establishments, such as bars or restaurants accountable, for serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals who subsequently cause accidents. These laws vary by jurisdiction and may have specific requirements that need to be met for a successful claim.

The advantage to suing a business is that it's more likely that they can fully pay your claim compared to an individual driver. Your vehicle accident injury lawyer can help you determine whether an establishment is liable for overserving a drunk driver.

Insurance Coverage

In many drunk driving accidents, the at-fault driver's insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover all the damages incurred. However, if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of your own auto insurance policy, it can offer additional protection and compensation in such situations. 

Even though you have this coverage, it's common that your insurance company will try to avoid paying. Your vehicle accident injury lawyer can also help you enforce your own insurance contract to help you seek all forms of available compensation.

Call a vehicle accident injury attorney if you were involved in a drunk driving accident.