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Liability and drunk driver accidents

Traffic accidents involving two or more cars are complex events, and it's not always clear who is liable. The police will often conduct Breathalyzer tests for all involved to check if anyone was intoxicated. But even if someone is found to be over the legal alcohol driving limit, there may have been other factors that led to the accident.

This blog will serve as a brief overview on the factors that are taken into consideration when determining fault and liability in accidents involving a drunk driver.

Determining fault and liability

If there is a proven drunk driver involved in an accident involving multiple cars, he or she almost always will be to blame. However, many other factors must be taken into account. The following factors will also be considered:

  • The investigation will ask whether any of the drivers breached any traffic duties, such as breaking the speed limit or driving recklessly.

  • Did the person who was intoxicated cause damages because of his or her intoxication, or would the accident have happened regardless?

  • The accident may have been inevitable and unforeseeable, and if so, it cannot be proven that intoxication caused the accident.

  • Any damages, both physical or emotional, must be proven before the courts.

Partial fault

Fault is not always assigned only to one person. Two or more people involved in the accident could be to blame. One of the partly-to-blame drivers may have a valid claim,. however, if it can be proven that one driver was more at fault.

Making a claim

Liability can be complex, and it is important to seek legal guidance if you have been involved in a car accident so that your situation can be assessed.

Source: FindLaw, "I was hit by a drunk driver: who is liable?," accessed July 27, 2017

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