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.
Some common questions we receive about making a claim against a drunk driver include:
- What am I entitled to in the UK if I got hit by a drunk driver?
- Do insurance companies pay for drink driving accidents?
- Can you claim insurance if drink driving?
- Can I sue a drunk driver?
- Does life insurance payout for drink driving?
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
- A Guide To Claim Against A Drunk Driver For A Car Accident
- What Is Drink Driving?
- What Are Drink Driving Limits In The UK?
- Penalties For Drink Driving And The Law
- Statistics – Drink Driving
- Common Accidents Caused By Drunk Drivers
- I Was A Passenger Injured In The Same Vehicle As A Drunk Driver, Could I Claim Compensation?
- Fatal Car Accident Claims Against Drunk Drivers
- How To Start A Car Accident Claim Against A Drunk Driver
- What Should I Do If Injured In An Accident Involving A Drunk Driver?
- I Was Injured By A Drunk Driver, What Could I Claim?
- Personal Injury Calculator If Injured By A Drunk Driver
- No Win No Fee Injury Claims Against A Drunk Driver
- Contact Us If Injured By A Drunk Driver
- Essential Resources
Drink driving is against the law in the UK, and the consequences when you have been found guilty of it can include being banned from driving, imprisonment, and fines. Despite this fact, there are some drivers that still decide to drive while under the influence of alcohol. This is why drink driving car accidents continue to occur on British roads.
When an accident is caused by a drunk driver, it is possible for those who have experienced harm to their health or suffered financial loss to make a claim against a drunk driver. You could claim for compensation for your injuries if you can prove that you were injured by a drunk driver.
People ask many questions about making a claim after being injured by a drunk driver, such as “Does car insurance cover drink driving accidents in the UK?” and “Is it possible to make a drink driving third party claim?” Read on for answers to these questions, as well as more information, such as how drink driving is handled in the UK, how a person might make a claim, and what a person could claim if they are injured by another driver who was under the influence of alcohol.
Drink driving happens when a person has consumed too much alcohol to be able to safely drive but chooses to do so anyway. There is a legal drink driving limit to the amount of alcohol that can present in person’s system while they operate a motorised vehicle, and when a person exceeds the limit, they are deemed no longer capable of safely controlling a vehicle, and may present a danger to themselves, their passengers and other road users. Drink driving car accidents are caused by people who break the law, and drive while under the influence of alcohol, because they can no longer physically and mentally react appropriately while in a moving vehicle.
How Does Alcohol Affect Your Driving?
Alcohol directly affects the processes of the brain, which is responsible for operating all other parts of your body, such as your eyes, hands, and feet, as well as your cognitive abilities like perception and reflexes, all of which are needed when operating a vehicle. Alcohol can cause the following effects in a drunk driver:
- It can dramatically slow your reaction time, and ability to react to changing situations on the road.
- Hand-eye coordination can be impaired, making it harder to use your hands and feet based on what you can see in front of you, such as reaching for the gear-stick, pressing the break/acceleration pedals, using turning indicators, etc.
- Alcohol can greatly affect your perception of your environment, which changes how you perceive the vehicle’s position on the road, the position of other vehicles or people on the road, as well as the distance of road markings and signs.
- Drinking alcohol can also impact your eyesight, changing your night vision, colour perception, and general ability to see clearly which may prevent you from seeing a pedestrian that is crossing, parked cars, cars entering the road, road signs, warning signs, speed limit signs, etc.
Drink driving limits in the UK are different depending on location, and England, Northern Ireland and Wales have different limits than those set in Scotland.
In England, Northern Ireland and Wales the drink driving limits are:
- 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
- 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath
- 107 milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine
In Scotland however, they have a different set of limits set out their legislation. They are:
- 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
- 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
- 67 milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine
Driving while under the influence is highly dangerous to the drivers themselves, and others around them who could be injured by a drunk driver who loses control of their vehicle. Having a drink and then driving can cause a car accident that could result in serious harm to other road user’s health and their property. This is why a legal drink driving limit is in effect all over the UK, and it is enforced by the police and the law itself.
When a person exceeds the limit, and is caught by the police, or involved in an accident, there are many different possible penalties they could face. Depending on how serious their actions have been, and whether they have hurt another person or caused damage as a result, the penalties a person could face may be more severe.
For a person who has been approached by police while in charge of a vehicle, and deemed to be over the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle, they could face up to three months in prison, a ban from driving for a period of time, or a fine of up to £2,500.
A person who was driving a vehicle, stopped by police, then deemed to be over the legal limit, could face up to six months in prison, an undefined fine decided on by the magistrates that handle your case and minimum driving ban of one year, which could stretch to three years if you were convicted more than once over the course of ten years. The same penalties could be applied to a person who refuses to provide a sample such as breath, urine or blood for police to analyse.
If a person is the cause of someone else death while driving under the influence of alcohol they could face more harsh penalties, such as up to fourteen years in prison, an undefined fine, the size of which would be decided by the magistrates that handle your case, a minimum two years ban on driving, and a legal requirement to take your driving test again before your licence is returned.
There are other complications that could arise from having drunk driving conviction, such as insurers charging significantly more for your cover than usual, it may create complications when travelling to other countries, and employers will see the conviction on your driving licence if driving is a normal part of your job.
In the UK although there have been concerted efforts to raise awareness on the dangers and consequences of drink driving, the statistics have shown that incidents involving drink drivers are still high, despite an apparent decline in the last thirty years.
Statistics show that 325,887 breath tests were performed in 2017 alone, and 14% of the people in this figure either failed the test or refused to take it at all. It is estimated that around 200 people a year die from a drink driving incident, while around 70,000 are caught drink driving each year.
Figures from 2016 showed that the result of drink driving affected those who were innocent more than the person who committed. In fact, 100 pedestrians died or were injured, 40 children were killed or injured, and 390 passengers in vehicles were killed or injured as a result of a drunk driver.
The statistics show that despite efforts and an apparent decline over time, drunk driving remains to be a worrying source of accidents, damage, death, and injury on British roads. To read more about the information that we have discussed please click here.
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.
You could still claim against a drunk driver if you were injured as a passenger in their vehicle that was involved in a car accident. If the vehicle you were a passenger in was involved in a drink driving accident that did not involve another person, you could claim against the driver for compensation. Your claim may be handled differently from claims made for other drink driving car accidents, simply because if you were inside the vehicle of a driver who was drink driving and the car crashes, it can be difficult to determine if you knew or not.
Claims of this type can be more complicated than if you were injured by a drunk driver while not a passenger in their vehicle. This is due to the fact that there will be doubt cast on whether you were aware the driver was drunk, and if you may be liable for contributory negligence. Contributory negligence means that any compensation you are awarded would be reduced, owing to the fact that your choice to enter a vehicle with a drunk driver contributed to the injuries you sustained.
Losing a loved one to a car accident caused by a drunk driver can be devastating. Claiming for compensation may never be something you consider after something so traumatic, as no amount of money could ever ease how difficult it is. There are situations, however, were being compensated for the death of a loved one caused by a drink driving accident.
These claims can vary in who they are made against or handled through, for example, if they were hit by a drunk driver with insurance, the claim would normally be made against their insurance company. In some cases, an insurer may refuse to cover it, as the driver was drunk at the time. In this situation, a claim could be made through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), which would also be the case if the drunk driver was not insured.
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.
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.
If you are considering making a claim against a drunk driver, it is useful for you to know what you could claim for in the first place. There are a variety of things a person who was injured by a could claim for compensation for and these include, but are not limited to:
- Medical expenses are a common claim made for those injured in drink driving car accidents and can include physiotherapy and counselling sessions, as well as bills paid for prescriptions and any other medical expenses that would not have been necessary if you had not been injured by the actions of a drunk driver.
- Loss of earnings can also be claimed if you have been unable to work after being injured by a person who was drink driving.
- Costs for general damages include compensating a person for any pain and suffering caused directly by the accident.
- Costs for care may be awarded in cases where a person needed extra help after the accident in completing everyday tasks. The cost of a carer could be included in your overall claim.
- Travelling expenses are also a usual part of making a claim, so as to cover you for any expenses you incurred while needing to travel to medical and legal appointments that were necessary for your recovery and overall claim.
Our personal injury claims calculator can be seen below, to help you get an idea of the average figures awarded in accidents caused by a drunk driver.
|Body Part||Severe - Moderate||Amount of Compensation||Comment – Estimates are given depending on the type and severity of the injury.|
|Brain Damage||Very Severe Brain Damage||£264,650 – £379,100||In the top bracket of this award, a person will require full time care, and will show very little reaction to their surroundings.|
|Brain Damage||Moderate Brain Damage||£140,870 - £205,580||Cases where the effect on intellectual ability has been severe to moderate, presents a risk of epilepsy and damages employability.|
|Neck Injury||Severe||In the region of £139,210||Cases where there is partial or permanent paralysis in parts of the body as a result, and a person has little or no mobility in the neck|
|Neck Injury||Moderate||£23,460 - £36,120||Cases including dislocation or fractures, and injuries that require spinal fusion, or result in chronic conditions in the neck and back|
|Shoulder Injury||Severe||18,020 - £45,070||This includes cases that are related to neck injuries, resulting in some paralysis or disability|
|Shoulder Injury||Moderate||£7,410 - £11,980||cases of frozen shoulder or other tissue damage issues that continues for up to two years after the accident|
|Back Injury||Severe||£85,470 - £151,070||Cases where there has been severe damage to the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in partial paralysis, and impaired lower body function.|
|Back Injury||Moderate||£26,050 - £36,390||Cases where there is a possibility of needing spinal fusion, reduced mobility, increased pain and discomfort, including injuries like crushed vertebra|
|Pelvis and Hip Injury||Severe||£73,580 - £122,860||These cases can include amputation of the leg, and severe damage to the pelvis, causing mobility issues, issues giving birth, and possibly requiring spinal fusion for lower back injuries.|
|Pelvis and Hip Injury||Moderate||£24,950 - £36,770||These cases include severe damage to the hips and pelvis, but no long-term disability risk of future issues|
A no win no fee solicitor takes on claims via a conditional fee agreement. This means that a claim will be taken on under the condition that if it is lost, the claimant (you) will not have to pay for your solicitor’s legal fees. In the case that your personal injury claim is successful, any fees are then taken out of any compensation awarded. The fee percentage should usually be discussed between you and your solicitor prior to starting the claims process. A no win no fee claim takes pressure off of you as the claimant to pay any upfront costs, and many people prefer to pursue personal injury claims in this way as the financial risk is reduced. Our team would be more than happy to give you detailed advice on making a no win no fee claim and are only a phone call away.
Contact us today for more information on making claim after being injured in a car accident by an intoxicated driver. Our team of experienced experts can offer you free legal advice on making a personal injury claim. You can reach us on 0800 073 8801 or alternatively, you could use our handy online contact form to schedule a call at your convenience.
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.
Article by JF.
Edited by CK.