Everyday drivers get behind the wheel despite the fact they are under the influence of alcohol. This scenario creates a high risk situation for the driver as well as other drivers and pedestrians who they come into contact with. Drinking and driving is a prevalent problem in the United States; approximately 16,000 people die each year in a drunk driving related car crash. Driving under the influence is a serious offense and comes with serious consequences such as the loss of your driver’s license, fines and fees, and even jail time.
But is the impaired driver always at fault in a drunk driving related car crash? Believe it or not, no. It is possible that individuals who drive under the influence may encounter partial responsibility or may not have any legal liability whatsoever.
The most important issue is finding out who is at fault and who will be held responsible for personal injuries and property damages. If you are in a car crash where the other driver has a blood alcohol content at or above the legal limit, just proving that this driver was legally drunk does not automatically prove they are at fault.
The truth is, a person’s blood alcohol content may or may not have been the main factor of the crash, and proving that someone was impaired will not guarantee you will win a lawsuit.
Here are some examples of when a driver under the influence may be responsible for a car crash:
Obviously, to be at-fault in a collision, someone has to be driving a car involved in the crash. As a driver of a motor vehicle, you have a duty to demonstrate reasonable care anytime you operate a motor vehicle. You are obligated to take reasonable measures to avoid hurting anyone or destroying property.
Has the driver carried out an action that knowingly put others in harm’s way? Most people consider drinking and driving to be a breach of a duty. People know it’s dangerous and demonstrative of reckless or irresponsible behavior.
Being behind the wheel of a car, even if intoxicated, isn’t enough to be liable in a crash. There needs to be evidence they did something illegal in addition to being under the influence.
The crash must result in another person being injured or having property damaged.
Since a driver’s intoxication alone isn’t enough to prove negligence, the breach, causation, and injuries or damages resulting from those components have to be tied together.
Crashes involving a drunk driver happen daily and each of these incidents are different. At Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. our team of attorneys specialize in car crash cases. If you or a loved one has been victimized by a drunk driving related crash, contact us today.
Rachel D. Olszewski, an attorney at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., is a dedicated advocate for clients who have suffered unjust harm. Following the legacy of her esteemed family members, Rachel specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice, and criminal defense. She is actively involved in professional associations and serves on the board of the Luzerne County Bar Association Charitable Foundation. Rachel is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania state courts and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
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