Drunk Driving Accident: How Liability Can Determine Compensation

Alcohol consumption is common, especially for those living near entertainment centers. The results for the victims injured from a drunk driving accident can be catastrophic.

However, the law provides a remedy, as you can sue for compensation. One crucial element is to determine those at fault and the damages incurred. For example, if you are hit by a drunk driver, you should note all your medical expenses as they are crucial when suing for compensation.

These expenses are used as evidence for the damages incurred, which is then used to determine the compensation. Keep reading to learn more about how liability determines compensation.

Ways Liability Determines Compensation

Liability determines compensation in two significant ways:

  • Determining the liable parties.
  • Determining the injuries incurred.

Let’s discuss these factors in detail.

Determining the Liable Parties

Determining liability involves looking at those responsible for the accident. The court must certify that a specific driver caused the accident, making them liable for the victim’s injuries.

The two types of liability parties include:

First Party Liability

In many drunk driving accidents, the responsible driver will be held liable for the accident. They may also face criminal charges depending on the severity of the accident. The only way to prove that they are responsible for the crash is to present the following:

  • Their blood tests.
  • A witness’s testimony highlighting the defendant’s erratic driving.
  • The driver’s testimony admitting that they were drunk before the accident.
  • A testimony depicting the driver’s physical signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech.
  • Their urine tests.

Ultimately, the court will order the driver to pay the compensation after proving that the driver is responsible for the accident.

Third-Party Liability

In some circumstances, a third party may be liable for the victim’s injuries even though a drunk driver caused the accident.

For example, in some states, dram shop laws apply to restaurants and bars. These laws state that the dram shops will be held liable for their customers’ actions if they negligently serve them alcohol and the customers cause harm.

The only way to prove that a dram shop is liable for a drunk driving accident is to show that:

  • The shop knowingly served alcohol to an underage driver.
  • The driver’s alcohol consumption caused the accident.
  • The dram shop sold alcohol to the driver even though he was intoxicated.

If one can prove that a third party is liable for the damages, the court will order them to pay the compensation instead of the driver.

Determining whether the first or third party is responsible for the accident is key to identifying the party to pay the compensation.  

Determining the Injuries Incurred

After determining that a specific party is liable for the accident, the court must determine whether the liability is directly related to the victim’s injuries to issue compensation.

The compensation can be minor or severe, depending on the accident’s severity. Let’s discuss them in detail.

Minor Compensation

Minor compensation involves paying the victim for the minor injuries incurred. However, you must demonstrate that the injuries directly relate to the drunk driving accident.

For example, a victim with various minor injuries like a broken arm or leg must show that these injuries are related to the accident.

However, if the drunk driver proves that the victim was driving with a broken arm, it makes them liable for only the fractured leg. This reduces the driver’s compensation amount since they are only responsible for the victim’s broken leg.

Severe Injury Compensation

Severe injury compensation involves paying the victim for the fatal injuries incurred. However, just like minor injuries, you must illustrate that severe injuries are related to the drunk driving accident. As such, the drunk driver will only pay compensation for the severe injuries stemming from the accident.

Final Thoughts

Liability determines compensation in two major ways. First, you must demonstrate that the driver is at fault for the accident to seek compensation. Second, you must illustrate that the injuries are related to the accident. Ultimately, the person at fault for directly causing the accident, leading to injuries, will compensate the victim.

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