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How Substance-Impaired Driving Affects Car Accident Cases and Liability

Substance-impaired driving

There isn’t a driver in the United States who doesn’t know the dangers of driving while impaired. Despite that, the number of drunk driving arrests across the nation continues to increase year after year. People have a tendency to overestimate their driving skills and underestimate the effect of drugs and alcohol on their body. When you’re involved in a car crash with a drunk or drugged driver, their status may have a significant impact on your personal injury claim.

It’s essential to start your claim as soon as possible after you’ve been hit by an impaired driver. Call John H. Ruby & Associates at 502-373-8044 to set up a consultation right away.

The Importance of Proving Impairment

In car accident cases involving impaired drivers, being able to prove their impairment can go a long way in strengthening your personal injury case and proving their liability. Evidence of impairment is often gathered at the scene of the crash. The police may ask the impaired driver to do field sobriety tests and will almost certainly do a BAC breath test. If they refuse a breath test, the officers may do a blood or urine test at the station. It’s important to gather this information quickly; as the alcohol wears off, it becomes harder and harder to prove that the driver was impaired at the time of the crash.

Witness statements may also play a role in this. If people see the other driver stumbling, slurring their words, leaving a bar or club, or swerving and driving erratically, those observations can all be useful.

Legal Implications for the Impaired Driver

Impaired drivers face a long list of potential consequences when they cause an accident. Getting caught driving while impaired is bad enough; actively causing an accident is even worse. Then it moves from the realm of “had the potential to cause harm to others” to “actually causing harm to others.” There’s a good chance that they will be arrested and cited; they will likely face criminal charges and go through the criminal trial process.

This is separate from your attempts to seek compensation. However, the evidence from the criminal trial can be useful in your efforts to recover compensation. If it’s proven that the driver was drunk or on drugs at the time of the accident, it’s almost impossible for them to escape liability.

What Impairment Means for the Victim’s Personal Injury Claim

Part of a personal injury claim is proving the other party’s negligence. Driving while impaired is, by definition, a negligent act. Someone who drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol knows that they could cause an accident and hurt themselves or others. This can make it far easier for the victim to seek compensation. Note, though, that many people who are charged with drinking and driving attempt to fight their charges. If their charges are ultimately dismissed, you may need to bring other evidence to the table. At the same time, though, don’t worry if their charges are dropped. The standard of proof is much lower in a civil claim than it is in a criminal case.

Securing Compensation

When you seek compensation from an impaired driver, you are actually seeking compensation from their insurance company. What you’re able to recover depends on the type of insurance coverage they have and their policy limits. There’s always the possibility that the insurance company will attempt to deny liability, but this is less common in drunk driving cases—it’s hard to claim that their client wasn’t liable when it’s obvious that their client was so impaired they could not drive safely.

If your claim is successful, you may recover many types of compensation. You could receive money for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Explore Your Legal Options with John H. Ruby & Associates

If you’ve been the victim of a car accident in Louisville, don’t wait any longer to find out if you have a valid case against the other driver. Let the team at John H. Ruby & Associates advocate for you. Take the first step now and schedule a consultation. Fill out our online contact form or call us at 502-373-8044 to get started.