Every night — especially after 11 p.m. — there are intoxicated drivers on the road. Most West Virginia residents don’t have to drive this late, but many of us do. Perhaps you’re heading home from work after the late shift, or you’re making a midnight run to the 24-hour drug store. It’s possible you could encounter an inebriated driver and get into an accident.
When you’re hit by a drunk driver, though, is the drunk driver always going to be liable to pay for injuries? For example, what if you accidentally ran a red light or stop sign. Or, what if you were speeding?
Sometimes, it won’t be perfectly clear to a Virginia Beach County court whether the drunk driver was at fault for the crash, or you were. This is particularly the case if you violated traffic laws in some way leading up to the collision.
What may happen in this kind of case, is that police will charge the other driver with DUI and you with your traffic violation. Then, it will be up to a civil law court to decide on the question of liability. If it’s clear that you contributed in some way to the crash and your injuries, then a court might deem that you should share responsibility for crash with the DUI driver. Your damage award might be reduced, and the DUI driver found only partially liable.
If you were seriously injured by a drunk or intoxicated driver, records from the criminal court proceedings surrounding the crash will be admissible as evidence in your personal injury lawsuit. If a court knows that the crash and your injuries were the direct result of the drunk driver’s irresponsible behavior, then it will likely issue an award of compensation in your favor.
Source: FindLaw, “I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver: Who is Liable?,” accessed March 10, 2017