Claiming Against A Drunk Driver For A Car Accident

By Jo Anderson. Last Updated 4th January 2024. Welcome to our guide to making claims against a drunk driver. It answers the question ‘a drunk driver hit my car when it was parked – can I claim, and ‘can passengers drink alcohol in a car in the UK?’ and covers drunk driver car accident compensation in detail.

calling for help after a car crash involving a drunk driver

Claiming when a drunk driver hit my car

Drunk driving happens when a person has consumed enough alcohol to push them over what is known as the legal limit or has chosen to drive a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, and then been involved in a car accident as a result. Even though the law forbids drink driving in the UK, car accidents caused by drink driving are still very common.

It is more likely for a person who is drink driving to cause car accidents because alcohol consumption impairs a person’s mental and physical ability to operate a moving vehicle. This can lead to a person losing control of the vehicle they are driving and colliding with another vehicle or pedestrian as a result. But who pays for the damage, both property damage and damage to the person who has been hit?

If you have been injured by a drink driver it may be possible for you to make a claim against them to compensate you for any medical or financial costs that you incurred as a result. Our guide has been put together to give information to those who are considering making a claim against a drunk driver. Our team could offer you advice on the process of making a personal injury claim after you have been injured by the actions of a drink driver, you can reach us on 0800 073 8801 or use our online contact form to have us call you back at a time that suits you best.

Select A Section

  1. When Could I Make A Claim Against A Drunk Driver?
  2. Common Accidents Caused By Drunk Drivers
  3. How To Start Car Accident Claims Against A Drunk Driver
  4. How Long Do I Have To Start A Car Accident Claim Against A Drunk Driver?
  5. What Should I Do If Injured In An Accident Involving A Drunk Driver?
  6. Compensation Payouts For Claims Against A Drunk Driver
  7. No Win No Fee Injury Claims Against A Drunk Driver
  8. Essential Resources Relating To Claims Against A Drunk Driver

When Could I Make A Claim Against A Drunk Driver?

Those wishing to make personal injury claims against a drunk driver must meet certain eligibility criteria to have a valid case. You would need to demonstrate the following:

  1. Another road user owed you a duty of care.
  2. They breached this duty.
  3. As a result of this breach, you suffered an injury.

All road users owe others on the roads a duty of care to navigate the roads in a manner that avoids causing harm to themselves and others. They must refer to the guidance and rules of the Highway Code and must follow the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Section 95 of the Highway Code states that drivers must not drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 35 microgrammes/100 millilitres in England or Wales. If a driver were to operate a vehicle with a breath alcohol level higher than this, they could be considered to be breaching their duty of care.

If you would like an advisor to check your case to see if you would be eligible to make a personal injury claim, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We could answer any questions you have about drink-driving claims, and could connect you with one of our solicitors if you have a valid case.

Common Accidents Caused By Drunk Drivers

Operating a vehicle safely and competently requires a person’s full concentration, and they must be fully physically and mentally capable to be able to operate a vehicle safely. As illustrated above, it is clear that alcohol dramatically affects our system, so that we’re physically and mentally impaired. This means that if a person chooses to drink and drive a car accident is more likely to happen, and they can occur in many different ways.

Comments  sometimes made from people after a drink driving car accident include things like “A drunk driver hit my car after swerving on to my side of the road” or “I was hit by a drunk driver when he mounted the path I was walking on.” Other possible scenarios where a drunk driver causes an accident can include but are not limited to:

  • Driving too fast, and causing a collision, or losing control of the vehicle entirely.
  • Not observing rules of the road, like entering a roundabout without stopping and crashing into the island, another driver or mounting a curb.
  • Losing concentration and not stopping at pedestrian crossing, hitting a person there.
  • Misjudging distance, not stopping in time and rear ending a vehicle in front.
  • A drunk driver in the UK could hit a parked car by not being able to see correctly or turning too fast onto a street.

There are many ways in which the impairments of a drunk driver could cause an accident, and if you were injured by the actions of a driver who was under the influence of alcohol, it could entitle you to make a claim for compensation for your injuries or financial loss.

How To Start Car Accident Claims Against A Drunk Driver

The first step for you to take after you have been injured by a drunk driver is to contact our team directly, for free legal advice about making personal injury claims for advice on if you have grounds to make a claim. Every person’s case is different, and having a team with decades of legal experience behind them to assist you in making a claim is beneficial.

We could advise you on making an insurance claim against a drunk driver, on if you could make a claim as a passenger, making a claim through MIB, etc. Our team could listen to all the aspects of what happened to you, and help you decide if you might want to proceed with a claim. It can all be handled in your first free consultation with us, and we can give you advice on making a no win no fee claim. We also tell you what you could claim for if you have been injured by a drunk driver, and offer advice on other topics such as accepting a settlement figure.

It is easy to get in touch, and we could connect you with a personal injury solicitor that could help you make a claim to compensate you for any injuries or financial loss you have incurred as a result of the actions of a drunk driver. Getting in contact with us is better done sooner rather than later, as there is a personal injury claims time limit of about three years for most cases. Call us today to find out more.

How Long Do I Have To Start A Car Accident Claim Against A Drunk Driver?

Along with having to prove that you met the eligibility criteria for making a drunk driver accident claim, you would have to file your claim within the relevant time limit. Per the Limitation Act 1980, you would typically have three years from the date of the drink drive accident to launch your claim.

However, there are some exceptions to this.

For example, if a child is injured in a drunk driver crash, they would not be able to file a claim until they become 18. Effectively, the limitation period would pause until their 18th birthday. However, during the pause, an appropriate adult could act as a litigation friend for the child, bringing a claim on their behalf. If no claim was made before the child turned 18, they would have three years from this date to begin their own legal proceedings.

There are also some exceptions that apply to those who lack the mental capacity to claim for themselves.

To learn what these exceptions are, or to check whether you still have enough time to begin your personal injury claim, you can contact one of our advisors today.

What Should I Do If Injured In An Accident Involving A Drunk Driver?

If you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver there are things you can do to make your case for a claim much stronger. This is centred mostly around collecting as much evidence as you can, or as is possible depending on the extent of your injuries. If you are unable to collect it yourself, you could try to ask someone to do so on your behalf. Collecting more evidence will make it easier to prove that you have been injured by the fault of a drunk driver. Things you can do to collect evidence include:

  • Collect the contact information of all people involved, this includes the driver, any passengers they may have, and any witnesses that may have been present at the time of the crash, i.e. other drivers or pedestrians who may be called to give statements about what they saw.
  • Note the details of the vehicle or vehicles involved in the accident, such as colour, licence plate number, model and make of the vehicle, and any commercial marking or affiliations the vehicle may have if it is a commercial vehicle.
  • Take pictures of the scene if possible, try to get any skid marks or tire marks on the road, take photos of the damage to all vehicles involved along with photographs of your injuries. Documenting these things makes it easier for others to see the cause and consequences of the accident and this will help to support your case.
  • Keep all evidence of costs incurred to you because of the accident, like mechanics bills and receipts for travel costs or medical costs.

Compensation Payouts For Claims Against A Drunk Driver

If you’re eligible to claim compensation for injuries you sustained in a drunk driving crash, and your claim is successful, your settlement could include general damages for the pain and suffering you’ve endured due to your injuries. Additionally, it could include special damages for financial expenses caused by your injuries, as mentioned above.

To calculate the general damages portion of settlements, a solicitor may refer to a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This publication provides guideline compensation brackets for a variety of injuries at different severities. You can see some from the JCG in the table below. However, these are only meant as guidance. Your payout would depend on a variety of factors unique to your case.

Body Part Severity Level Amount of Compensation Description
Combination of serious injuries with financial costs and losses. Serious Up to £1,000,000+ Several serious injuries combined with financial losses such as care costs, medical expenses and travel costs.
Brain Damage Very Severe £282,010 to £403,990 The person requires full-time nursing care and will demonstrate little meaningful response to their environment.
Brain Damage Moderately Severe £219,070 to £282,010 The person has a very serious disability either cognitive or physical. They are substantially dependent on others.
Back Injury Severe (i) £91,090 to £160,980 Cases where there has been severe damage to the spinal cord and nerve roots.
Back Injury Moderate (i) £27,760 to £38,780 Injuries such as a compression or crush fracture of the lumbar vertebrae causing substantial risk of osteoarthritis and ongoing pain and discomfort.
Neck Injury Severe (i) In the region of
Cases of severe neck injuries that are associated with incomplete paraplegia or result in permanent spastic quadriparesis.
Neck Injury Moderate (i) £24,990 to £38,490 Fractures or dislocations that potentially require a spinal fusion.
Pelvis and Hip Injury Severe (i) £78,400 to £130,930 A dislocated joint in the lower back with a ruptured bladder.
Pelvis and Hip Injury Moderate (i) £26,590 to £39,170 A significant pelvis or hip injury with no major disability.
Whiplash Tariff Whiplash and psychological injury £4,345 A whiplash and psychological injury lasting between 18 to 24 months.
Whiplash Tariff Whiplash injury £4,215 A whiplash injury lasting between 18 to 24 months.

If you would like to get a personalised estimate of your potential compensation payout or have further questions about claims against a drunk driver, our advisors would be happy to help.

The Whiplash Reform Programme

How certain road traffic accident claims are made in England and Wales changed due to the introduction of the Whiplash Reform Programme. You may need to make your claim via a different avenue if the following apply to your case:

  • You are aged 18 or over.
  • You were injured as a passenger or the driver of the vehicle.
  • The injuries you suffered are valued at £5,000 or less.

Additionally, the whiplash injuries you suffered will now be valued in accordance with the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 tariff. These are fixed amounts and we have included some examples of these in the table above. Additional injuries you have suffered that are not covered by this tariff will be valued traditionally.

Contact our advisors today to see which avenue you should take when making your claim.

No Win No Fee Injury Claims Against A Drunk Driver

If you are eligible to make a drunk driver accident claim, you might wish to get professional help. A solicitor could assist you in putting together a strong case and negotiating a compensation settlement on your behalf.

One of our solicitors may offer to represent you under a type of No Win No Fee arrangement known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). With this type of contract in place, you would not typically pay your solicitor upfront for their services. Additionally, you will not pay them for their work while your drink drive accident claim is ongoing or if it fails.

Instead, they would deduct a success fee from your compensation if they succeed with your case. There is a legal cap in place for the percentage that this fee can be.

If you would like to claim compensation for a drunk driver crash injury on a No Win No Fee basis, please contact an advisor. They could check your eligibility to make a personal injury claim and connect you with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors if you have a strong case. Contact our team today by:

Essential Resources Relating To Claims Against A Drunk Driver

Can I Make A Claim As A Passenger In A Car Accident? – Click here for more information on what you can do if you were injured in a car accident as a passenger.

The Drink Driving Limit – See this government page on the drink driving limits currently set in different parts of the UK.

A Guide To Car Accident Claims – See here for all the information you might need on different types of car accident claims.

Pedestrian Accidents – See here for the process of claiming if you were injured in a pedestrian accident.

Drink Aware – See the Drink Aware homepage for more information on being a responsible drinker.

Hopefully, we’ve now answered the question ‘a drunk driver hit my car when it was parked – can I claim?’ and explained more about the claims process for drunk driving accidents. we’ve also answered the question of ‘can passengers drink alcohol in a car in the UK?’