The Strength of Evidence of Fault & Causation in Drunk Driving Accidents


December 02, 2013

Driving under the influence of alcohol constitutes one of the most common and preventable causes of serious auto accidents that result in life-altering injuries and fatalities. While drivers committing DUI-related offenses are less able to safely operate a motor vehicle due to slower reflexes, distorted perception and impaired judgment, they also tend to drive at a high rate of speed because they have an inflated sense of their own driving ability. This combination of less control and increased speed means that drunk drivers are not only more likely to be involved in a collision, but the resulting collisions also disproportionately more severe types of injuries.

Because of the high risk of serious injury or wrongful death in drunk driving car crashes, it is important to understand some of the factors that may impact the amount of financial recovery in DUI accident claims. With this in mind, consider the following:

Strength of Evidence of Fault & Causation

Sometimes the alcohol impairment of a driver can be difficult to prove, which explains why a fair number of alcohol impaired drivers escape conviction in criminal proceedings. A driver may refuse to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs) or provide a breath, blood or urine sample for chemical testing to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC). While there are certain situations where an officer may forcibly draw blood, a drunk driving injury victim may be relegated to evidence such as the observations of the police officer to establish alcohol impairment when other evidence of intoxication is unavailable.

Even in cases when intoxication is clearly established, such as when the driver is found to have a BAC of .08 or higher, this does not necessarily mean the drunk driver will be determined to be at-fault. The insurance company will look for evidence to claim that the victim injured by the drunk driver actually caused the accident or exacerbated his or her own injuries by driving unsafely. While a driver can be convicted in a criminal proceeding for driving while intoxicated even if the driver does not violate a traffic law or otherwise drive in a hazardous manner that causes a collision, the mere fact that a driver is intoxicated does not automatically establish the issue of fault. The insurance carrier for the alcohol impaired driver typically will use accident reconstruction experts, law enforcement accident reports, vehicle damage, witness statements and other evidence to develop an alternative theory for the cause of the accident.

The auto insurance claims attorneys for the alcohol impaired driver may argue that the injury victim caused the accident by running a traffic signal or increased the severity of the injuries by exceeding the speed limit. Although proving liability can be easier when a driving error or traffic violation by the drunk driver can be established, liability is not automatic so representation by experienced DUI accident injury attorneys can play a significant role in maximizing your recovery when pursuing a DUI injury claim.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case

If you or your family member is injured by a drunk driver, our Georgia drunk driving accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates have been helping injury victims and their families for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.