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Liability in a collision: The impact of a drunk driver

If you're hit by a drunk driver, the first question you may ask is who is liable? It's not always clear who's at fault for an accident right away, but determining liability is much easier if one party is impaired. It's nearly always the fault of the person's intoxication.

When a person is on the road, he or she has the duty to follow the traffic rules and to take care to avoid hazards. The person also has to respect the safety of other people. When a person is driving drunk, he or she is doing none of those things and is in direct violation of the law.

When a person drinks and drives, he or she breaches the duty of care owed to others on and around the roads. The question that a crash creates is, "would the other driver have been injured if this driver had not been impaired?" In most cases, it's clear that if both parties had been sober, the accident would likely have been avoided.

Of course, sometimes injuries are a result of your actions and are outside the scope of what that driver could have foreseen, intoxicated or not. For instance, if you ran a red light, that driver wouldn't be expected to know you were going to do that. You crossed into their path, and their intoxication did not affect the collision.

To win a claim against the drunk driver, you must be able to show that you suffered damages or injuries as a result of the collision. You need to show that your vehicle was damaged, that you have medical bills and that there are other financial losses as a result of the crash. Your attorney may be able to help you understand the amount you should look for in a claim settlement, so you get what you need.

Source: FindLaw, "I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver: Who is Liable?," accessed March 10, 2017

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