I Had an Accident Whilst Drunk, Can I Claim Compensation?

You may think that if you are involved in an accident when drunk and you are injured, you may not be able to claim compensation for your suffering. However, there are situations where you could be entitled to file a personal injury claim. This is particularly true if the accident was avoidable and just because you enjoyed a tipple before the incident, the fact you were drunk would not matter. One example being, that if you slipped on a wet floor when you were in a nightclub and you injured yourself in the process, you may not be deemed at fault. The reason being that the owner of the club has a duty to ensure that all spillages are cleaned up quickly to avoid anyone slipping and injuring themselves.

Because this type of claim can be complex and providing liability challenging, you should seek legal advice if you think you could be owed compensation by a responsible party. A solicitor would assess your case and the circumstances surrounding the accident in which you were injured to establish whether liability can be proved and to determine whether your case stands a good chance of being won whether through the courts or in an out of court settlement.

Once this has been established, a solicitor would typically agree to work on your accident while drunk claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This allows the solicitor to begin their investigations without having to ask you to pay them a retainer (upfront) fee. To find out more about how to claim compensation from a responsible party even if you were drunk when injured, please read on.

When Could I Claim Compensation If Injured When Drunk?

Reports show that more people in the UK suffer alcohol-related injuries during weekends when they are on a night out with 22% admissions to Accident and Emergency departments being drink related. If you wilfully caused an accident in which you sustained an injury when you were under the influence of alcohol, you would be deemed responsible and therefore a claim for compensation would not be possible.

However, as previously touched upon, if you were injured while drunk due to the negligence of another party, you could be entitled to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim against the party who could be deemed liable. An accident in which you sustain injuries could happen in a variety of places and this includes the following:

  • While visiting a place
  • While walking along a street
  • While using public transport
  • When in a taxi on the way home
  • While eating in a restaurant or take-away
  • While in a nightclub, bar or pub

If you are unsure whether you were at fault because you were drunk when injured, the best thing to do is discuss the circumstances surrounding the incident with a solicitor who would help you determine whether you are liable or whether a third party could be held responsible for the injuries you suffered.

What Type of Accident Could Lead to an Injury When Drunk?

When drunk, your reactions and balance can be negatively impacted which means you are more at risk of slipping, tripping and falling than when you are sober. You may slip, trip and fall when drunk due to the following:

  • There was poor lighting in a stairwell
  • The floor was uneven or a carpet was torn
  • Steps on stairs were damaged or worn
  • An unexpected obstruction
  • Food and drink spillages which were not cleared up promptly
  • Wet or damp floors near an entrance or in toilets

You could also suffer an injury when drunk because of the actions of another party. Examples being as follows:

  • You get jostled in the path of oncoming traffic while walking on a pavement when drunk
  • You are hit by a drunk driver while you are under the influence of alcohol in which case UK law would hold the drunken driver liable and not you
  • You may be on a pedestrian crossing and a car fails to stop and hits you
  • Another person may assault you even though you tried to avoid any sort of confrontation with them

You may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and as a result suffered an injury. As such, if you have an accident on your way home and you are not to blame for the incident whether you are drunk or not, you could be entitled to seek compensation from a responsible party providing you were on foot. The sort of injuries you may sustain could be minor or a lot more severe which could include head injuries and broken bones.

Can I Claim Compensation if Assaulted When Drunk on a Night Out?

If you are on a night out and you are assaulted by another person, you may be entitled to seek compensation by making an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. However, you would need to prove that you were the ‘blameless victim’ of the assault and other critical criteria must be met for the authority to accept a claim through their Scheme.

It is worth noting that you would not have to know who your assailant was to make an application for injury compensation through the CICA but you would need to have reported the assault to the Police. Without a Police incident number, your application would be turned down. You must also fully cooperate with the Police as they conduct their investigation because if  you do not, the CICA would also refuse your application for compensation through the Scheme.

Because claiming compensation for a criminal assault through the CICA is complex, you should contact a solicitor who specialises in this type of case. They would ensure that you have sufficient evidence to prove your case and would check whether you have any unspent criminal convictions because if you do, the authority can refuse your application for compensation. Another reason to contact a legal helpline is that they would ensure that the time limit of two years associated with criminal injury claims is respected so that your case is not time barred.

Could I Claim Compensation If I Am Involved in a Pedestrian Accident While Drunk?

As previously mentioned, just because you are drunk and have an accident when walking along does not mean you may not be entitled to seek compensation for any injuries you sustained. However, if when drunk you contributed to a road traffic accident by walking out in the road into an oncoming car leaving the driver no time to avoid colliding with you, then you may bear some of the responsibility for any injuries you sustained in the incident.

Should this be the case, a solicitor would determine your level of responsibility and whether you could be entitled to seek compensation for the injuries and losses you sustained in the accident whist drunk you were involved in.

How is Liability Proved if I Had an Accident Whilst Drunk?

There are several factors that would come into play when proving liability if you have an accident when drunk as a pedestrian. If you are drunk you are more likely to do the following:

  • Cross a road without making sure it is safe to do so
  • Trip or fall over while crossing a road
  • Walk in a road instead of the along a pavement
  • Fall or be pushed into the road by another person
  • Walk across a zebra crossing when the red light is on telling you to wait

Should any of the above apply to you, then you would not be able to claim compensation for any injuries you sustained if you had an accident whilst drunk. However, if you were hit by a drunken driver, you may be able to file a claim against them because under UK law, the authorities would hold the drunk driver liable for the accident.

Can I Claim Compensation for a Slip, Trip and Fall Whilst Drunk?

If you slip, trip and fall injuring yourself whilst drunk, you could be entitled to claim compensation if you can show that the accident was not your fault. Some reasons why you may be able to seek compensation from another party could include the following:

  • You slipped and injured yourself because a spilt drink was not cleared up promptly in which case the owner of an establishment could be deemed responsible
  • If you trip on an uneven pavement because it was badly maintained, the local council could be held liable for any injuries you sustained

Because proving liability may prove challenging in these instances but you think you may be owed compensation for the injuries you suffered in an accident whilst drunk, you should discuss your case with a solicitor who would need to assess your claim which they would do by offering you a free no obligation consultation.

How Do I Begin an Accident Whilst Drunk Claim for Compensation?

The first thing you should do is seek medical attention for any injuries you sustained in an accident whilst drunk you were involved in. The medical report you obtain would be used as evidence of the injury you suffered. If you were involved in an accident involving a drink driver, you must get a police report and the incident number which is crucial evidence that would support your claim for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.

You should contact a solicitor as soon as you can because they would not only provide essential legal advice but they would also help you gather the necessary evidence to support your case against a responsible party. A solicitor with the necessary experience would also ensure that any time limits associated with a personal injury claim whether through the CICA or through the courts, are respected bearing in mind that CICA claims have a two year deadline attached to them.

What Could I Include in My Accident Whilst Drunk Claim?

The law in the UK is clear when it comes to compensation awarded to people who are injured through no fault of their own which is as follows:

  • To make sure that a person is no ‘worse off financially’ than they were before they suffered an injury

Whether you were drunk or not, if you were not to blame for an accident in which you sustained injuries and a solicitor establishes liability on the part of a third party, you would be entitled to claim the following providing you do not ‘profit’ from the amount you are awarded:

  • General damages – these are awarded as a way to compensate an injured party for the harm they suffered which includes any loss of amenity
  • Special damages – these are awarded to compensate an injured party for out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of having been injured in an accident. This would cover any medical expenses not covered by the NHS, travel costs associated with injuries sustained such as travelling to and from hospital, care costs, loss of earnings and future earnings as well as other financial losses incurred to injuries sustained

For more information on how much you could claim and what you could claim in compensation if you were in an accident whilst drunk, you should get in touch with a solicitor who would assess your case before offering valuable legal advice.

How Much Compensation Could I Be Awarded?

The table below offers an idea of the level of compensation you may be awarded for specific injuries. However, the amounts provided are only given as ballpark compensation amounts because every personal injury claim and criminal injury claim for compensation is unique.

Type of InjuryDescriptionAmount
Minor Finger or Thumb InjuriesDamage to soft tissue or nails that have been torn off.Up to £4,160 (fingers) or £3,460 (thumb)
Serious Finger or Thumb InjuriesLong-term tendon damage, loss of mobility and stiffness.£13,080 to £14,330
Moderate Hand InjuriesDeep lacerations, needing stiching and which may require surgery to repair.£5,110 to £11,640
Serious Wrist InjuriesCompound fractures which require immobilisation while healing but will have no long-term impact£21,480 to £34,340
Less Severe Arm InjuriesDamage that will limit use of the arm for the short-term but will heal eventually.£13,720 to £28,060
Simple Arm FracturesFractures to the short bones of the forearm.£5,810 to £16,830
Moderate Foot InjuriesSerious fractures which require plaster to immobilise the foot until healed£12,050 to £21,910
Very Severe Ankle InjuriesInjuries resulting in permanent loss of some functionality of the ankle.£43,900 to £61,110
Minor Leg InjuriesSoft tissue damage, sprains and very minor fractures.Up to £10,380
Moderate Neck InjuriesInjuries which may be painful and take time to heal. The length of time will affect the amount payable.£6,920 to £33,750
Moderate Back InjuriesPredominately damage to muscles and ligaments of the back causing pain whilst healing.£10,970 to £34,000

A personal injury solicitor would be able to let you know how much you could expect to be awarded should your claim be successful once they have determined you have a strong case against a responsible party.

Would a Solicitor Offer Me No Win No Fee Terms If Injured in an Accident Whilst Drunk?

A solicitor would need to assess your claim before offering to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. This would typically be done in a no obligation consultation for which you would not be charged a fee. Once the solicitor has established liability on the part of another person and that you did not cause the accident whilst drunk, they would offer to work on your case on a No Win No Fee basis.

This would mean signing a Conditional Fee Agreement which is a contract that sets out the terms and conditions of the agreement and the amount you would only have to pay when the solicitor wins your claim for compensation and you are awarded a settlement. This would be an agreed percentage known as a ‘success fee’ and the amount would be deducted from the compensation you are awarded whether through the CICA Scheme, in an out of court settlement or by a court. Should your case not be upheld and you are not awarded compensation, you would not have to pay the solicitor the ‘success fee’ because you signed a Conditional Fee Agreement with them.

Useful Links

If you were involved in an accident when drunk and believe you could be entitled to seek compensation for the injuries you sustained from a third party, the following link provides essential support for victims of crime in the UK:

Support and advice from Victim Support UK

If you were assaulted when drunk and you would like to know more about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, please follow the link provided below:

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

To find out whether you could be eligible to make an application for compensation through the CICA scheme, please follow the link below:

More information on eligibility for CICA claims