Intoxication is used all the time as an excuse for bad behavior:
You know I never meant that, honey. I was drunk.
I did what?? Sorry — I was so drunk the whole thing is a blur.
I had no idea what I was doing, your Honor. I was drunk.
What? Your Honor? Who would expect a judge to go easier on them because they were intoxicated?
Believe it or not, intoxication can sometimes be used as a mitigating factor by criminal defendants — meaning, the fact that they committed the crime while impaired by alcohol can actually work in their favor. The idea is that an intoxicated person, much like a mentally ill person, is not capable of forming the mindset required to intentionally commit a crime, and therefore should not be punished as severely.
Intoxication is not an excuse in negligence suits
That may work in some situations, but not in Georgia negligence lawsuits. Here, the courts have stated in no uncertain terms that the acts of a voluntarily intoxicated individual are judged by the same rules as the acts of a sober person.
Specifically, the rule applies in wrongful death and personal injury cases where the injured or deceased person was intoxicated. Defendants in all types of personal injury cases often argue that the injured person failed to exercise ordinary care for his or her own safety and was thus responsible for the injury. In response, plaintiffs have argued that an impaired person is not capable of exercising such care. But going back as far as the 1955 case Southland Butane Gas Co. v. Blackwell (in which the deceased was run over by a truck while lying drunk in a roadway) the courts have established that drunkenness is no excuse and ruled that an impaired plaintiff was injured through his or her own negligence.
So remember that drinking responsibly is not just about protecting others. Ultimately, you are responsible for you.
Posted in Personal Injury
Tagged drunken behavior, establishing liability, intoxication and negligence, personal injury lawsuits