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Drink Driving Car Accident Claims – Can I Get Compensation?

By Lewis Cobain. Last Updated 13th February 2023. Welcome to our guide on drink driving car accident claims. Despite the fact that drink driving is punishable by law, there are many road accidents and pedestrian collisions due to people operating vehicles over the legal limit.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drink driver, then you may be eligible for compensation awarded due to making a personal injury claim. Our guide covers all you need to know about drink driving and the process of claiming compensation for your injuries.

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What is drunk driving?

Drink Driving Accident Claims

In the UK, there have been laws in place to prevent people under the influence of alcohol putting themselves and other people in danger by driving a vehicle. In the 1930 Road Traffic Act, it was deemed to be an offence for someone to be in charge of a motorised vehicle in any public place (including the road), to attempt to drive, or to actually drive whilst they were influenced by alcohol in such a way as they were incapable of controlling the vehicle properly. However, it was not until 1967 that a legal drink driving limit was set.

In 1964, a study conducted in the USA found that the chance of a person’s involvement in a road traffic accident rose highly when they were found to have an alcohol level of 80mg/100ml of blood. In light of this, and after an increase in the number of road accidents in the UK, the UK government introduced a limit to the amount of alcohol legally allowed to be in the system while someone was in control of a vehicle. This limit was set at a maximum of 80mg/100ml of blood.

If you’d like to learn more about how common drunk driving is, you can review our research and statistics here. We provide a breakdown by area of the country and have specific data on the rates of offences over St Patrick’s Weekend.

What is the drink drive limit?

In Northern Ireland, Wales and England, the maximum limit of blood alcohol for a person in control of a motor vehicle is still 80mg/100ml blood. However, in Scotland, the limit was lowered in 2014 (December 5th) to 50mg per 100ml.

The Government’s Road Safety Strategy in 2000 suggested that a reduction in the drink driving limit could prevent two hundred and fifty injuries, many of them serious each year, and that it could potentially lead to 50 fewer lives being lost due to drink driving.

A later review suggested this number would be larger, with 65 lives being saved and 230 serious injuries prevented.

The government, in 2010, commissioned research from Sir Peter North in order to review the legal limit. RoSPA’s evidence offered to the review proved that the risk of an accident sharply rises to 2-2.5 times for those persons with blood alcohol levels of 50mg-80mg.

Further to this, an international study concerning the introduction or lowering of limits for drink driving found that these actions led to a smaller number of injuries, deaths and accidents on the roads.

Currently, however, the legal blood level of 80mg still remains in England and Wales.

What to do if you are involved in a car accident caused by drink driving

If a drunk driver has caused your injuries, then there is a good chance you will have a claim for compensation. To assist your claim, it is wise to collate as much evidence as you can. The sort of evidence that can be vital in proving your case can include, but is not restricted to, the below:

Photographs – Whether you use your smartphone or have a camera handy, you should attempt to photograph both the scene of the accident and any physical visible injuries you have suffered. If you are unable to take photographs yourself, you can ask others to photograph the scene and your injuries for you.

Witness Contact Details – If anyone has witnessed the accident that has caused your injuries then you must try to get their contact details in order that they may be called as a witness if required, or provide a written witness statement. Address, contact number and full name should be sufficient at this point.

Driver details – Wherever possible, you should also attempt to get the vehicle/driver details for the person that has caused the accident. If the vehicle is a commercial vehicle, make sure you or someone else notes the name of the company and contact details for the business.

Proof of Costs incurred – If you need to pay out of pocket expenses due to your injuries, such as medical bills, prescription charges or travel costs for appointments, make sure to keep receipts in a safe place, as these may be used as part of your claim.

How to begin a car accident caused by drink driving claims

If you want to know how to claim for injuries sustained in an accident caused by a drunk driver, then all you need to do is call us. We have years of experience in dealing with claims just like yours, and whilst every claim has unique details, we know that what most people need is for the whole process to be as stress-free as possible. After all, you have more than likely had to deal with a heavy amount of stress during and after the accident. Whether you’ve been dealing with mounting bills due to your inability to attend work, or had to bear pain and discomfort, making a claim for drink driving compensation shouldn’t cause you any more problems.

Starting a claim with us usually involved a free consultation, whereupon we will take all the details of the accident, ask questions to clarify certain points, and make you an appointment local to you to see a medical professional who will then compile a full report of your condition, your injuries and your prognosis. From here, we will be in a good position to advise you how strong a case we feel you have, along with giving you some idea of how much compensation you could be awarded.

Whilst some solicitors charge upfront fees for drunk driving accident claims, we work on a No Win No Fee basis, which means you won’t be expected to pay upfront for any consultation, or in fact any legal fees at all until your case is won. If for some reason your case is not successful, you will not be left with legal bills that could further impair your financial situation.

What can be claimed for after a car accident caused by drunk driving

You may be wondering how much can I claim in a car accident claim that’s not my fault? Depending on the nature of your injuries, your prognosis and any costs you may already have had to pay out of pocket, your settlement figure will be calculated taking into account the following:

  • Travel Expenses – It is possible in many cases for you to submit a claim for travel costs you have incurred whilst attending appointments necessary for your recovery and pertaining to your claim.
  • Medical Costs – Whether it is prescription fees, counselling bills, or physiotherapy, the likelihood is that you will have had to pay out of pocket for some medical costs. These can often be compensated for as part of your claim.
  • Care Costs – If you have not been able to complete the usual day to day activities you usually complete to take care of yourself, then you may have had to have someone care for you. The person that has become your carer should be able to submit a claim for care costs.
  • Loss Of Earnings – If you have missed work due to your injuries and lost out on income, then it is likely that you will be able to claim for this loss of income.

The most common types of car accidents caused by drunk driving

Drink driving crashes can have a serious impact on all involved. Some incidents can cause severe injuries, including mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In some cases, a fatal accident could happen.

However, you might wonder, ‘what are some examples of drink driving accidents?’ We’ve listed some below:

  • Pedestrian accidents – A pedestrian might not be spotted by a drunk driver due to them having impaired vision, particularly at night.
  • Head-on collisions – If a driver is over the limit and becomes drowsy, they may veer into traffic causing a head-on collision.
  • Rear-shunt accidents – When a driver is intoxicated, their reaction time is likely to be slower than usual, therefore they may be unable to stop quickly enough when a driver in front of them slows down.

If you have suffered harm due to a car accident involving a drunk driver crash, you might consider making a claim. Our advisors are on hand 24/7 to offer free legal advice.

How much compensation will I get after a car accident caused by drunk driving?

If you have sustained any type of injury in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be wondering if you have a claim, and if so, how much compensation you may be awarded. Sadly, as each case is entirely unique, we cannot give a definitive answer to this question. There are many different variables from case to case, and whilst two cases may seem at first look to be almost completely identical, there may be some small intricacies within the case that can have a marked effect on the amount of compensation awarded. Honest solicitors will not try and mislead you with figures that are unachievable or guarantee you a certain amount of car accident claims payouts. This is something we will never do.

However, we have put together somewhat of a rough guide to give you an idea of what has been awarded in the past and the brackets used to calculate compensation claims in general. The drink driving car accident compensation calculator below, similar to our general car accident claims calculator, should give you a rough idea of previous awards in your injury category/categories. If you cannot locate your specific injury or something in the table is not clear, then do not hesitate to call our team and we will help by explaining things further.

This figure is known as general damages, and is calculated by consulting a publication known as the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). These guidelines are made up of an extensive list of injuries and what they could be worth in compensation depending on things like severity and recovery time. The JCG is updated semi-regularly, with the last review taking place in 2019. These are the figures we have used below.

Reason for compensation Typical payout amount Comments
Back injuries Minor (i) £7,890 to £12,510 The upper end of this bracket could mean the injury has taken around 5 years to heal.
Back injuries Moderate (i) £27,760 to £38,780 Injuries within this bracket tend to cause more lasting damage, but rarely unbearable
Back injuries Severe (i) £91,090 to £160,980 Only the most severe cases will earn this level of compensation – the more extreme injuries could cause partial paralysis and things like impaired bladder, bowel, and sexual function
Neck Injuries Minor (i) £4,350 to
Usually when a complete recovery is made, the amount is largely dependent on how long this recovery takes
Neck injuries Moderate (i) £24,990 to
The upper end of this bracket is when there could be lasting damage, and some activities are now limited
Neck injuries Severe (i) In the region of
Extreme lasting damage with other persistent symptoms such as headaches
Mental anguish £4,670 Awarded when the claimant expects to die or have their life expectancy shortened

Then, there’s also the matter of special damages. This figure is calculated with the aim of reimbursing the claimant for any additional outgoings or extra costs that have resulted as a direct result of their injuries. For example, they could be reimbursed for lost wages they would have earned during a forced absence from work. Medical expenses and travel costs are just some of the other things that can be considered for eligibility in a special damages payment.

It’s vital to maintain detailed records and evidence of these expenditures. Without proof, you could find it very difficult to have these costs reimbursed.

For more information on what can be reclaimed, speak to our advisors today.

Drink Driving Solicitors – No Win No Fee Drunk Driving Claims

If you are injured in a road traffic accident that involves drink driving, solicitors could help you gather evidence. If you are concerned about the fees involved with using a solicitor, a No Win No Fee arrangement might be of interest to you. Solicitors working on this basis may offer you a variation of a No Win No Fee known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. It typically means you don’t have to pay ongoing fees and you usually won’t have to make an upfront payment either.

As part of the arrangement, you’ll pay your solicitor a legally capped success fee from your compensation but this is only if your claim succeeds. Should your claim fail, you won’t be expected to pay your solicitor for their work.

If you have been harmed in an incident involving drink driving, our No Win No Fee solicitors could help you secure compensation. Find out more about how you can get in touch for free 24/7 legal advice in our next section.

Call for free advice and to start a claim

It could not be easier to get in touch with our experienced team. Simply:

and one of our staff will be happy to answer any questions you might have about your accident caused by a drunk driver. This is whether it is taking you through the car accident claims process step by step, advising you further on what sort of damages might be claimed for, or answering questions about car accident compensation. We will answer your questions and try and help you move your case forward if we can.

Remember, you can also use the live chat function, or see if you have a claim online by filling out the form on our website.

Whatever your needs, and whatever your injuries caused by someone that should not have been driving drunk, we will be sure to advise you honestly, clearly and sympathetically as to what to do next, and can help you begin a claim for compensation should you decide that we are the best car accident claim company for your specific needs.

Helpful Links

UK Government drink driving penalties

This is a page that explains the current UK drink driving penalties, including penalties for refusing to provide a urine, breath or blood test to check alcohol levels.

Government on road accidents and safety statistics

The most up to date official page, showing current statistics surrounding road safety and road accidents.

UK government about the current drink drive limit

More information from the UK government about the current drink drive limit, along with some information about how alcohol can affect different people.

Legislation.gov.uk Road Traffic Act 1988

This link takes you to the Road Traffic Act 1988, giving you full details of applicable laws.

Can You Claim If You’re A Passenger?

Find out the answer to the question by reading our guide.

No Win No Fee Compensation Claims Guide Help And Free Advice

Learn more about making a No Win No Fee claim by reading this guide.

How did the Highway Code change in 2022?

A guide discussing recent changes to motoring laws.

We also have some other guides on car accident claims that you may find useful:

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    Meet The Team

    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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