How Intoxication Can Affect Fault In A Car Accident

Explore:  Car Accident DUI

The involvement of an intoxicated driver can have a huge effect on a Seattle car accident case. If a driver was involved in an accident while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, it becomes much more likely for the driver to be found at fault — and therefore liable for any resulting injuries.

Determining negligence in an auto accident is often a very subjective thing. However, if a driver violates traffic laws and in doing so causes an accident, there is a strong presumption that the driver was negligent. Therefore, in cases involving an intoxicated driver, the question is not so much whether the driver was acting reasonably — which the driver wasn’t — but whether the driver’s intoxication actually caused the accident. For instance:

  • If an intoxicated driver crosses the double-yellow line and hits another driver, that intoxicated driver will almost certainly be found negligent and liable.
  • If an intoxicated driver is stopped at a red light and is struck from the rear by another driver, that intoxicated driver will not be found negligent solely for being intoxicated, because there is nothing to suggest that the intoxication contributed to the accident.

These same considerations apply to injured drivers. If you were injured in a car accident while driving intoxicated, that fact alone does not necessarily mean you cannot recover compensation, although it is often an issue that your lawyer must overcome. If it appears your intoxication contributed to the accident, your ability to recover compensation may be reduced. If it appears your intoxication was the sole cause of the accident, you may not be able to recover at all.

Tagged automobile accident, drunk driver, drunk driving accidents, intoxicated driver