If you were involved in an accident and injured yourself whilst under the influence, you may think that claiming compensation would be out of the question. However, there are certain situations which could entitle you to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim if you are injured whilst drunk. One such case could be if you slipped and injured yourself on a night out in a bar or pub because a spilled drink had not been wiped up in a timely manner. Should this be the case the owner of an establishment could be deemed liable for any injuries you suffered even if you were under the influence at the time.
To find out more on how to claim compensation if you were under the influence and you injured yourself in an accident for which a third party could be held responsible, what evidence you would need to provide to support a claim and how a personal injury solicitor could assist you in filing a personal injury claim against the responsible party, please read on.
- Alcohol-related Accident Statistics in the UK
- Common Injuries and Accidents That Could Happen When Under the Influence
- Assaulted When Under the Influence on a Night Out, Can I Still Claim?
- Injured When Under the Influence as a Pedestrian, Could I Claim Compensation?
- Under the Influence and Knocked Over by a Driver, Can I Claim?
- I Was Injured in a Slip, Trip and Fall Accident When Drunk, Could I Claim Compensation?.
- How Do I Start a Claim for Compensation For Injuries Sustained When Under the Influence?
- What Could My Claim For Compensation Include?
- What Advantages Would a Solicitor Provide if I Make an Under the Influence Claim?
- Would a Solicitor Offer Me No Win No Fee Terms if I Make an Under the Influence Claim?
- Useful Links
Admissions to Accident and Emergency Departments rise significantly in the evening and at weekends the numbers rise even higher when people tend to be on a night out with friends. Over twenty per cent of admissions are to have alcohol related injuries treated whether minor or a lot more severe. It would be understandable to think that should you sustain an injury while you were under the influence of alcohol you would not be entitled to claim compensation. This would be true if your actions resulted in you being involved in an accident that left you with injuries.
However, if you suffered an injury through no fault of your own and you were under the influence at the time, you may be able to seek compensation if it can be proved that you sustained the injuries due to negligence on the part of a third party. In short, just because you were under the influence at the time of an accident that was caused by someone else, you may be able to seek compensation.
There are many scenarios that could result in you suffering injuries whilst under the influence because your judgement and balance could be impaired. You could injure yourself in a nightclub, pub, restaurant, or other establishment. You could be involved in an accident on a train, bus, taxi, when walking in the street, or crossing a road. The problem is that should you be drunk on the night, the circumstance surrounding your accident may not be that clear.
One of the most common accidents that happen to people when they are drunk involves a slip, trip fall which could happen for a number of reasons, such as:
- Poor lighting in a stairwell/corridor
- Uneven floor surfaces
- Damaged stairs
- Uneven obstructions
- Spillages whether food or beverages not being cleaned up in a timely fashion
- Wet, slippery floors
You could sustain an injury at the hands of another person or persons. If you are under the influence as a pedestrian the following may occur:
- You may be pushed into the road and into oncoming traffic
However, if a driver of a car that knocks you over is drunk at the wheel of the vehicle, the law may well be on your side because under UK law, drink driving is considered one of the more serious driving offences that could result if severe penalties.
The most common injuries sustained by pedestrians when under the influence are:
- Broken bones
If you feel the injuries you sustained when under the influence of alcohol were the result of the actions of a negligent party but you need more clarification on whether you could be entitled to compensation, the best thing to do is contact a solicitor. They would assess your case and the circumstances leading up to the accident that left you injured before advising you on whether you could pursue a claim against a responsible party or not. The solicitor would do so in a no obligation consultation for which there would be no charge.
You may find that you meet people who are just out to have fight on a night out and you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the result being you are assaulted and injured. It could mean that you sustain minor injuries which includes bruising but you could suffer something far more serious like injuries to your face.
Should this be the case, you may be able to seek compensation by submitting an application through the Criminal Injuries Scheme. The CICA was set up to allow blameless victims of crimes and violence the opportunity to be compensated for injuries they sustained. Even if you do not know who assaulted you, it is possible to make a claim through the Scheme providing your case meets the strict and specific criteria as laid out by the authority.
For the CICA to accept an application for compensation through their Scheme, there must be a Police crime reference number. In short, you must have reported the assault or other crime that was committed to the Police as soon as you were able to for an application to be accepted by the authority. You must also ensure that you fully cooperate with the Police or the CICA may refuse your application.
It is also worth noting that the authority has a minimum and maximum threshold when it comes to compensation awarded through the Criminal Injuries Scheme. The best course of action once you have reported a crime against you whilst you were under the influence to the Police, is to contact a solicitor who would offer essential advice on whether your injuries are listed in the CICA tariff of injuries and whether your case stands a good chance of being accepted by the authority.
There is a shorter time limit to making an under the influence personal injury claim through the Criminal Injuries Scheme which is set at two years from the time you suffered injuries in a crime of violence against you. The CICA does have the discretion to extend the deadline but only in very exceptional circumstances and proof must be provided to substantiate any requests to apply for compensation through the Scheme after the time limit has passed.
If you are at all unsure whether your compensation claim would be accepted by the CICA, you should get in touch with a solicitor who would look into the circumstances that led to you being injured while under the influence before advising on how best to proceed with a CICA claim if they find you could be eligible.
If you suffered injuries while under the influence as a pedestrian, you may be able to seek compensation providing you can show that you did not contribute to the accident which resulted in you suffering injuries. When drunk you are less likely to be aware of what is going on around you which puts you more at risk of being in an accident. However, just because you had too much to drink does not necessarily mean you were at fault but the exact circumstances that led to an incident would be extremely important when claiming compensation for injuries sustained.
Should you have been injured in a road traffic accident as a pedestrian while under the influence, and the driver of the car that hit you was drunk, the Police would take the matter extremely seriously and would most likely side with you. Drink driving is deemed a serious offence in the UK and one that carries severe penalties. However, if while under the influence, you step into path of an oncoming vehicle giving the driver little time to avoid hitting you and as a consequence you suffer injuries, you would not be able to seek compensation as you would be responsible.
As with all personal injury claims, you must provide sufficient evidence to support a claim whether this is through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority or through the courts. Without enough proof that you did not contribute to the injuries you suffered while under the influence, your case would not be deemed valid.
As previously touched upon, if you are knocked over by a driver while you were under the influence, if the driver had been drinking, the law would most likely be on your side. However, there are other factors that must be taken into consideration if you are knocked down by a driver who has not been drinking which are as follows:
- Did the driver have enough time to avoid hitting you?
- What was the weather like at the time the accident occurred?
- What time did the incident happen?
When under the influence as a pedestrian, you are more likely to do the following than if you had not been drinking:
- Cross a road without ensuring it is safe to do so
- Trip or fall over while crossing a road and not being able to get out of the way of cars
- Walk along a road even though there is a pavement on each side
- Fall into the road when play-fighting
- Shoved into the road by a person you are with
- Forget to check if any cars are coming before using a pedestrian crossing or crossing when the red light is on
It is worth noting that in the UK, if you are hit as a pedestrian whether you are intoxicated or not, the driver’s insurance company would pay out compensation if third party liability can be established.
If you were injured in a slip, trip and fall accident while under the influence, you may be able to claim compensation if you can show that another party could be held responsible. One example would be if you slipped and fell injuring yourself because a spilt drink had not been cleared up in a timely fashion which owners/managers are obliged to do under Health and Safety regulations.
Another example would be if you tripped on a damaged paving slab and injured yourself in which case, a claim could be filed against a local council. However, when filing any sort of claim for compensation because you suffered injuries while under the influence, the amount you had consumed prior to the incident occurring would be taken into consideration.
If you feel that your injuries could have been avoided if a party responsible had not been negligent in some way, you should contact a solicitor who would assess whether you could claim against the responsible party or not.
The first thing you must have is a medical report of any injuries you suffered. If you were involved in a crime of violence and can prove you were the ‘blameless’ victim, you must get a Police reference number. You should also gather as much evidence as you can to support your case and this includes getting any witness statements together with their contact details. Photos of the injuries you suffered would also help strengthen a claim whether this is through the CICA scheme or through the Civil Court.
When it comes to compensation for injuries sustained through no fault of your own, UK law is quite clear:
- To ensure that an injured party is no worse off financially than they were prior to being injured in an accident – whether drunk or not
- That no person should profit from the compensation awarded in a personal injury claim
There are two parts to the compensation you could be awarded in a successful claim which are as follows:
- General Damages – these are awarded to compensate a person for the injuries they sustained through no fault of their own. They are based on ‘actual injuries’, pain and suffering as well as any loss of amenity
- Special Damages – these are awarded to compensate an injured party for their financial losses which includes travel expenses, medical costs not covered by the NHS, care costs, home adaptations, vehicle adaptations and all other expenses that can be directly linked to injuries sustained
A claim for compensation involving injuries sustained while under the influence can often be challenging and proving that you did not contribute to an accident could be more difficult. As such, it is far wiser to seek legal advice from a personal injury solicitor prior to making a claim whether through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority or through the courts.
A solicitor has the necessary expertise required in dealing with CICA claims and personal injury claims against insurers. They understand and appreciate the importance of respecting the relevant time limits associated with both types of claim which helps ensure that a case does not end up being statute barred (out of time). A solicitor would also assess your case before taking it on and if they find that you have a strong claim against a party responsible, they would typically offer to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
In short, you would not have to pay a No Win No Fee solicitor a retainer (upfront fee) for them to begin representing you in a CICA claim for compensation or a claim through the Civil Courts. The only time you have to pay for the legal service provided by a No Win No Fee solicitor is when you receive the compensation you seek and the amount (an agreed percentage) is deducted from the money you are awarded. If you lose your claim for compensation, the ‘success fee’ would not be payable because you signed a Conditional Fee Agreement with the solicitor who represented you.
As previously touched upon, once a personal injury lawyer has assessed your case which they would typically do in a no obligation consultation for which you would not be charged, and they find that your case against a responsible party is strong, they would take on your case on a No Win No Fee basis which would involve signing a Conditional Fee Agreement commonly referred to as a No Win No Fee agreement.
This is a legal contract between both parties which lays out the T&Cs of the agreement as well as the percentage that would only become payable once you are awarded the compensation you seek.
For more information about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and the Scheme, please click on the link provided below:
If you think you may be drinking too much or a family member or friend, is drinking far too much and you would like help, support and advice, the following link takes you to the Alcoholic Anonymous website:
For more information on what support is out there if you were the victim of an alcohol related assault, please click on the link provide below: