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Criminal law

Claiming against a drunk driver

Around 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured in road accidents involving drink drivers. But what are the dangers of drink driving and how could you claim?

16 December 2015

Christmas Day is fast approaching and many of us will be looking forward to office parties, festive catch-ups with friends and family get-togethers. It’s a time for celebrating alright, but it’s also a time to leave the car at home if you’d like to enjoy a Christmas tipple.

Thankfully, attitudes to drink driving are changing and a Government survey last year revealed that over 90 per cent of people in the UK believe drink driving is unacceptable. That still leaves a small number of people who, sadly, think it’s okay to drive after drinking alcohol – an extremely disappointing attitude that can have devastating consequences.

Each year, around 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents involving drink drivers.

Dangers of drink driving

Drivers need to be alert at all times and be in full control of their vehicle. Even just a tiny amount of alcohol can affect a driver’s judgement or how fast they react to hazards on the road.

With Christmas parties taking place in the darkest weeks of the year, most drivers will need to do some night-time driving. Alcohol can seriously reduce a driver’s ability to see clearly at night – other road users and objects that are easily spotted by sober drivers can be much harder to pick out for a driver who’s been drinking.

Although the legal drink drive limit is 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, alcohol can affect people in many different ways depending on a number of things from physical factors such as age and weight to the amount of food they’ve had to eat.

If you are caught driving while over the legal limit then you could be banned from driving for 12 months, fined up to £5,000 or be faced with six months’ imprisonment. Aside from a criminal conviction, if you need to be able to drive to either get to work or perform your job, you could even end up losing your job.

Road safety charity Brake, who Slater and Gordon are proud to support, are calling for a zero tolerance on drink driving via their Not a Drop, Not a Drag campaign.

Making a claim

If you have been injured in an accident involving a drunk driver – either as another driver, a pedestrian or a passenger travelling with a drunk driver– then the expert personal injury lawyers at Slater and Gordon can help you.

Claiming compensation against a driver who’s been drinking is no different to other personal injury claims, except that the police may bring criminal charges against the drunk driver.

You should report the collision immediately to the police and wait for them to arrive. It will help your claim if the other driver is found to be over the legal drink drive limit as it will make it easier to prove negligence on their part. If the driver flees the scene after the collision, then you can still claim compensation, but similar to claiming against an uninsured driver any claim would be made to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

When to seek advice

Seeking the expert advice of a specialist road collision lawyer can be crucial in ensuring that your claim goes smoothly and that you get the rehabilitation support you need to recover from your injuries.

To speak to a road traffic accident solicitor, call us on 0330 107 6501 or contact us online here and we will call you back.

All information was correct at the time of publication.

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