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What to do if you’re involved in an accident with a drunk driver

  • The first and most important thing to do is to check to see if anyone is injured and, if necessary, call an ambulance and the Police immediately.  The Police will take a detailed account of the accident circumstances and speak to any witnesses at the scene.  This will form evidence which may be required at a later stage.
  • If the Police have suspicions that a driver is drunk, it is likely that a breath test will be carried out.  If the driver is found to be over the legal alcohol limit, it is much easier to establish blame for the accident.
  • If the driver fails to stops or escapes the scene of the accident, you can still claim compensation via a Motor Insurers’ Bureau claim (see Claiming Against an Uninsured Driver for more information).
  • If you are able to, you should also try to take down as much information as you can (e.g. details of the vehicle in which you were travelling, any other drivers and vehicles involved, any witnesses).   If the driver of the vehicle you were in is held responsible for the accident, it is very important that you have your own evidence and account of the accident.
  • You should seek medical attention from the hospital or your GP to ensure that there is a full record of your injuries in your medical records.  If your symptoms continue, keep a diary detailing how you are feeling.  You should also keep a record (as well as any receipts) of any expenses you incur as a result of the accident – loss of earnings, medical expenses, travel expenses all form part of your compensation.

What happens if you accept a lift from a driver who has been drinking and you’re injured in a road traffic accident?

In normal circumstances, as a passenger in a vehicle, you are an innocent party and cannot be held at fault for any accident (see FAQs: Passengers in Road Traffic Accidents for more information). However, getting into a vehicle knowing the driver has been drinking can affect your claim for personal injury.

If you are found to have got into a vehicle with a driver who you knew, or suspected, had been drinking, you may be held partially responsible for your injuries.  Your compensation is likely to be reduced by a percentage to reflect the fact that you consciously put yourself at risk.  It is advisable that, in the interests of your safety as well as the possible consequences for a personal injury claim, you make an assessment of the driver when considering whether or not to accept a lift. 

The statistics

  • On average 3,500 people are killed or seriously injured each year in road traffic accidents involving drunk drivers
  • The most recent figures from 2014 show that 240 people were killed in road traffic accidents involving a drunk driver and 1,100 were seriously injured
  • Almost 20% of all deaths on the road involve drivers who are over the legal alcohol limit

For further information visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras51-reported-drinking-and-driving

What you need to know about a claim against a drunk driver

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident which was caused by a drunk driver (either as a driver, pedestrian or a passenger travelling with a drunk driver) you are likely to be entitled to compensation for the injuries and losses you have suffered.

Making a claim against a drunk driver is the same as any other road traffic accident claim, other than the driver may be liable to face criminal charges as well as a civil claim.

Drunk driver accident claim solicitors

If you are involved in a road traffic accident involving a drunk driver, it is important to seek specialist advice as soon as possible to ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries and losses.

Contact our team of expert personal injury lawyers, based at our head office in Leicester, to speak to someone today. Your first meeting with us, whether at home, the hospital or at our offices, will always be completely free.