If you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver and you suffered injuries, you could be entitled to seek compensation from them. Drink driving is illegal and anyone caught at the wheel of a vehicle when they are under the influence of alcohol would receive a hefty fine and would have their driving licences withdrawn. In short, they could be banned from driving for a period of time.
To find out how to claim against a drunk driver for a car accident in which you suffered injuries, what kind of evidence would be required to support your case, the level of personal injury compensation you may be entitled to, and how a personal injury solicitor could assist you when filing a claim, please read on.
- Drink Driving Statistics in the UK
- What Are the Consequences of Drink Driving?
- What is The Definition of Drunk Driving?
- What is the Drink Drive Limit in the UK?
- What Should I Do If I Am Involved in a Car Accident With a Drunk Driver?
- How Do I Start a Claim Against a Drunk Driver for a Car Accident?
- What Can I Include in a Claim Against a Drunk Driver for a Car Accident?
- What are the Most Common Car Accidents Caused By Drunk Drivers?
- What Level of Compensation Could I Get If Injured By a Drunk Driver?
- What Are the Benefits of Having a Solicitor if I File an Drunk Driver Claim?
- Would a Solicitor Represent Me on a No Win No Fee Basis on a Drunk Driver Claim?
- Helpful Links
Incidents involving drink driving are still a major concern in the UK despite every effort on the part of the Government to reduce the amount of people who are injured or killed in road traffic accidents.
Studies show that during 2015 alone, there were 220 fatalities in the UK and 1160 other people suffered severe injuries with 8000 casualties in road traffic accidents involving drink drivers. Research has also shown that more than two hundred people are fatality injured every year and that seventy thousand drivers being caught by the police at the wheel of a car when they were under the influence of alcohol.
Sadly, it is often the innocent who are injured by drink drivers and they suffer the most severe injuries with pedestrians being particularly at risk of being killed or injured by a drink driver. The study also showed that 40 minors were severely injured or killed in road traffic accidents involving people under the influence of alcohol at the wheel of a vehicle.
How To Claim Compensation For Whiplash After A Drink Driving Accident?
If you was a passenger of the vehicle at fault or not at fault you could claim whiplash compensation If you have whiplash. Also if you was the driver of the car that has been crashed in to by a drink driver you could also claim for whiplash For more information on whiplash compensation and advice visit Advice.co.uk for free advice on calculating whiplash claims.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is not only illegal, it puts everyone on the road whether in a vehicle or as a pedestrian, at risk of being injured. In a worse case scenario, it could result in a fatality. You don’t have to drink a tremendous amount of alcohol to be ‘over the limit’ and even a few glasses of a favourite tipple would result in impaired judgement. A drunk driver is more at risk of causing a road traffic accident than someone sober.
A drunk driver may not only receive a heavy fine and have their driving licences taken off them but if the accident caused a fatality, they could be sent to prison too. If you were involved in an accident and the other driver was under the influence of alcohol when at the wheel of their car, you could seek compensation for any injuries whether physical or psychological that you suffered. A solicitor who specialises in road traffic accidents involving drunk drivers would assess your case in a no obligation initial consultation, before advising on how best to pursue a claim for compensation.
There is a limit to the amount of alcohol you can consume if you intend driving a vehicle. The law sets this out although, it is far wiser not to drink anything if you are thinking about getting behind the wheel of a car or other vehicle. The Road Traffic Act 1930 states that it is an offence to be in charge of a ‘motorised vehicle’ while in a public place, to try to drive or to drive while under the influence of alcohol which would prevent them from being in control of their vehicle. In 1967, a drink driving limit was established which over the ensuing years was amended to suit the times.
If you are involved in a road traffic accident whether you are in a vehicle or as a pedestrian and the other driver who caused the incident is found to be under the influence of alcohol, you should contact the police immediately. If your injuries permit, you should also gather as much evidence as possible which should include witness statements and their contact details. If your injuries prevent you from doing so, you can ask a trusted friend or relation to do this for you. Other evidence that would be required includes the following:
- Photographs of where the road traffic accident occurred – you can use a phone to do this
- Photos of your injuries
- Photos of the damage done to your vehicle and/or other property
- The drunk driver’s details, their car’s registration number, make and model
- A police incident number and report
- Proof of all expenses you incurred as a direct result of the injuries and losses you incurred as a direct result of the injuries you suffered in a drunk driver car accident
Even if you initially have no intention of filing a personal injury claim against the drunk driver, you should still gather the evidence shown above because you may find at a later date, you change your mind. The more proof you can provide a solicitor, the stronger your claim against a drunk driver who caused your injuries would be.
If you want to file a claim against a drunk driver for a car accident in which you sustained injuries, the best course of action is to contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as you are able to. The reason for contacting a legal expert sooner rather than later is that there is a time limit to seeking compensation which must be respected. Failure to adhere to the deadline could result in a claim being time barred.
When you contact a solicitor who specialises in road traffic accidents involving drunk drivers, they would typically offer you a free, initial consultation. This would allow the solicitor the opportunity of assessing your case. Should they establish you have a strong claim for compensation against the drunk driver, the solicitor would offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. This means the solicitor can begin their investigations without asking you to pay them an upfront fee to do so.
If you were in a car accident with a drunk driver, you could be entitled to seek compensation for the injuries you sustained and the losses you incurred. When calculating the amount you may be awarded in a successful car accident claim that was not your fault, would be based on the following:
- General damages are awarded in compensation for the injuries you suffered and how your future life may be negatively impacted
- Special damages are awarded to compensate an injured party for their financial losses which in short means the payout should put them back to the position they were in prior to being injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver
When claiming special damages, you could include the following:
- Travel expenses associated with the injuries you sustained
- Medical expenses which are not covered by the NHS
- Care costs if you are in need of help around the home due to the injuries you sustained
- Loss of earnings and future earnings – you must be able to provide proof in the form of payslips and other relevant documentation
- Home and vehicle adaptations if required
If you are unsure of what can be claimed in special damages, a solicitor would be able to offer essential advice prior to submitting a claim against a drunk driver for compensation which they would do in an initial consultation that is typically free of charge and you would be under no obligation to continue with a claim for compensation against a drunk driver if you choose not to.
A vehicle being driven by a drunk driver can turn into a deadly weapon which could lead to serious road traffic accidents resulting in fatalities. Some of the most common accidents caused by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol include the following:
- Road traffic accidents due to speeding
- Negotiating a roundabout without due care and attention
- Running over a pedestrian
- Driver distracted by something
- Loss of control of a vehicle
If you were involved in a road traffic accident caused by a drunk driver and you sustained injuries but the incident is not included in the list, if the driver had been drinking, you could be entitled to seek compensation by filing a claim against them. A solicitor would determine whether you have strong case before advising on how best to proceed.
Having been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you could be entitled to seek compensation and may be wondering how much you could be awarded if your case is successful. Because all claims are unique, it is hard to put a definitive figure on the amount of money you could be awarded. With this said, should your case be accepted by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and it succeeds, the CICA operate a tariff system and your injury would have to be ‘described’ in it.
If a solicitor establishes you have a strong personal injury claim against a drunk driver, the level of compensation you could be awarded would depend on the severity of the injuries you suffered. Solicitors, courts and insurance companies use what is known as the Judicial College Guidelines when calculating the amount which you could be awarded in general damages. However, on top of general damages, you could also be entitled to seek special damages which would be awarded to compensate you for any financial losses you incurred as a direct result of the injuries you sustained in an accident caused by a drunk driver.
As with all personal injury claims and criminal injury claims, ensuring you could be entitled to seek compensation for injuries sustained in a drunk driver accident and knowing how to prove liability is essential. There are also time limits to consider which must be respected to avoid a claim being time barred. For personal injury claims, the typical time limit is 3 years from the date of an accident although there are exceptions to this.
When it comes to claims filed through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, the time limit is shorter being 2 years from the time of an accident in which you were injured by a drunk driver. Again, sometimes and under exceptional circumstances, the authority may accept a claim through the Scheme which is filed after the deadline. However, it is far better to seek legal advice from a solicitor sooner rather than later to avoid running short on time bearing in mind that gathering all the evidence required to prove a case against a drink driver can take longer than first anticipated. This can be especially true when it comes to getting the necessary police and medical reports both of which are essential when seeking compensation either through the courts or in a CICA application.
Providing a solicitor can establish that your case is strong enough to be won, they would typically offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis which could entail entering into a Conditional Fee Agreement with them. This is a contract between you and the solicitor and it sets out the terms and conditions of the agreement which includes the percentage known as a success fee that would only be payable when you win your case. The agreed percentage would be deducted from the compensation you receive with the remainder being paid to you.
Should your case against a drunk driver not be successful, you would not have to pay the agreed percentage to the solicitor for the work they did on your claim because they signed a No Win No Fee agreement with you which set out the terms and conditions of the contract which included having the ‘success fee’ waived if a claim for compensation against a drunk driver was not successful.
For more information on the penalties for drink driving in the UK and how having a driving convictions levied against you can negatively impact not only your ability to drive for a specific period of time but also your earnings, please follow the link provided below:
If you would like to know more about Drink Aware and the work that is carried out in relation to alcohol related road traffic accidents in the United Kingdom, please click on the link below:
For more information on the drink drive limit that is place in Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland, please follow the link provided below:
If you would like to know more about the Road Traffic Act and what the legislation covers, please click on the link below: