Drunk Driving Car Accidents

April 2, 2024 | Steve Fields
Drunk Driving Car Accidents
Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving car accidents cause horrible tragedies far too often. When someone chooses to get behind the wheel while impaired and severely injures or kills an innocent person, they must face full accountability – from a criminal as well as a personal injury law perspective.

Not only should they face severe legal punishment, but they should also fairly compensate the victims for any harm suffered.

The following is a look at why drunk driving car accidents happen and how a skilled attorney can work to make sure those responsible for these needless tragedies pay what victims deserve.

If you suffered injuries due to a drunk driver, never hesitate to consult a car accident attorney near you for the support and representation you need.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Drunk Driving Is Always Preventable

Drunk Driving Hit

Every state has strict laws against drinking and driving, and every driver should know that drunk driving is against the law. Not only is it illegal, but it is also incredibly dangerous, and it puts the lives of both the driver and innocent bystanders at risk.

When someone chooses to drink and drive, they know that alcohol impairs their judgment, slows reaction times, and generally affects their ability to drive safely. Yet, they choose to do so anyway.

Drivers continue to drink and drive even though there are many other options to get home safely after drinking in modern times. With just a few taps on a phone, anyone can request an Uber and have a sober driver pick them up to take them home without driving after drinking.

Even so, drunk driving accidents continue to happen at all times of day and night, on the weekends and weekdays, and on holidays. These irresponsible drivers do not seem to have much discretion about when they put everyone in danger and completely disrupt the lives of others due to crashes and injuries.

Why Drunk Driving is So Dangerous

More than 13,000 people died in drunk driving car accidents in a recent year across the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol-impaired driving contributes to approximately 31 percent of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.

These accidents not only result in loss of life, but also cause severe injuries, disabilities, and emotional trauma for victims and their families. The consequences of a single moment of impaired judgment can be irreversible and far-reaching, impacting numerous lives from one accident alone.

Drunk drivers often have a false sense of confidence or impaired judgment. Alcohol impairs the cognitive abilities and motor skills essential for safe driving. Even small amounts of alcohol can affect judgment, reaction time, coordination, and concentration.

Intoxicated drivers make poor decisions, such as speeding, weaving between lanes, or ignoring traffic signals, which puts themselves and others in harm's way. Reaction time, crucial for avoiding driving hazards, significantly decreases under the influence of alcohol, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

However, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) isn't the only factor that determines the effects of alcohol on driving ability. Other factors such as body weight, tolerance, food consumption, and the type of alcohol consumed can influence impairment levels.

Even if a driver feels buzzed rather than drunk, they’re still at risk of impaired driving and shouldn’t try to operate a vehicle. Everyone should recognize that any amount of alcohol can impair driving ability and increase the likelihood of accidents.

Even if drivers think they are fine to drive, they might make mistakes that lead to injuries and liability. If this happens to you, a dedicated car accident attorney is waiting to help.

Common Crashes Due to Drunk Drivers

Head-On Collisions

Drunk driving accidents can happen in many ways, as impaired drivers can make many different mistakes on the road. Some common crashes that these drivers cause, which lead to injuries and legal claims include the following:

Head-On Collisions

One of the most dangerous types of crashes involving drunk drivers is the head-on collision. This occurs when a drunk driver veers into oncoming traffic, crosses over the centerline, or drives the wrong way, resulting in a direct impact with another vehicle.

Head-on collisions often result in catastrophic injuries, as the combined force of two vehicles traveling at high speeds can cause significant damage. In many cases, innocent individuals are the victims of these crashes, suffering severe injuries or even death.


Another common type of crash caused by drunk drivers is the T-bone collision. Also known as a side-impact collision, this occurs when a drunk driver fails to stop at an intersection or disregards a traffic signal, crashing into the side of another vehicle.

T-bone collisions can result in serious injuries, including broken bones, internal injuries, and head trauma.

Rear-End Collisions

Drunk drivers often have impaired judgment and delayed reaction times, which can lead to rear-end collisions. These crashes occur when a drunk driver fails to stop or slow down in time, crashing into the back of another vehicle.

Rear-end collisions can cause whiplash, neck and back injuries, and damage to the vehicles. In some cases, the force of the impact can be significant, leading to more severe injuries.

Pedestrian Collisions

One of the most heartbreaking consequences of drunk driving is the injury or death of pedestrians. Drunk drivers may fail to see pedestrians crossing the road or walking on the sidewalks, putting their lives at risk.

Pedestrian collisions caused by drunk drivers can result in life-altering injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and amputations. Unfortunately, many of these accidents would be preventable if individuals choose not to drink and drive.

If you or a loved one have been a victim of any type of drunk driving accident, seek immediate medical treatment. Then, seek the guidance of an experienced car accident attorney who can help protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Why You Need a Car Accident Attorney

Drunk driving accidents can leave victims with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial burdens. When someone is a victim of a drunk driving accident, they must seek fair compensation to help them recover and rebuild their lives.

However, despite the obvious egregiousness of drunk driving, insurance companies can make the claim process challenging. Hiring an attorney can help victims through the legal process and ensure they receive the money they deserve in several ways:

Calculating Damages

Calculating Damages

Victims of drunk driving accidents often face significant physical injuries, ranging from soft tissue injuries to severe trauma such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, or traumatic brain injuries. These injuries may require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and long-term care.

An experienced lawyer can help victims assess the full extent of their injury-related losses and calculate the appropriate compensation to cover medical expenses, both current and future.

Drunk driving car accidents can cause emotional distress and psychological trauma for victims and their families. From post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to depression and anxiety, the mental toll of such accidents can be profound and long-lasting.

An attorney can work to include compensation for emotional distress and mental anguish in the victim's claim, ensuring that they receive support for their psychological well-being.

In addition to physical and emotional injuries, drunk driving accidents often result in financial losses for victims, in addition to medical bills. These losses may include lost income due to inability to work, property damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident.

An attorney can help victims document and quantify these losses to ensure they receive fair compensation for their economic damages.

Proving Liability

Many victims assume that liability should be fairly straightforward in drunk driving cases. After all, shouldn’t the drunk driver pay for all the losses they caused?

Even though this seems obvious, insurance companies can still make the process challenging. Claimants must still provide evidence of the driver’s liability to recover compensation.

Often, when law enforcement officers report to the scene of the accident, they will establish that the driver is intoxicated and arrest them for driving while impaired.

The driver will then go through the criminal process, which is separate from the civil process of seeking compensation for victims. The criminal case focuses on punishing the driver, while a civil injury case focuses on making the victim whole.

However, if the driver is convicted of driving while impaired in criminal court, your car accident lawyer can certainly use this to the advantage of your civil case. A criminal conviction can often be sufficient proof that a driver violated a safety law and, therefore, was negligent and liable for the accident.

Even if the driver was not arrested and/or convicted, all hope is not lost. The standard of proof is lower in civil court than in criminal court, so many injury victims still prove liability without a criminal DWI conviction.

Your attorney can gather other evidence of liability, including:

  • Police reports
  • Witness accounts
  • Chemical test results
  • Expert analysis
  • Surveillance footage

Thorough investigation allows them to build a compelling case for proving liability in drunk driving car accidents.

Liability can also extend beyond the intoxicated driver to include third parties contributing to the accident.

Depending on state laws, these third parties might involve:

  • Social hosts who served alcohol to underage minors who caused the accident;
  • Establishments that sold alcohol to underage or obviously intoxicated individuals who then caused the accident;
  • Employers who knew an employee was intoxicated and allowed them to drive a work vehicle, or who knowingly hired employees with a history of drunk driving accidents.

An experienced car accident attorney knows how to examine all possible sources of liability for your crash. This can increase the available insurance coverage, which can often maximize the chances that you receive full compensation for catastrophic injuries.

Fighting Insurance Companies

Fighting Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are notorious for their tactics to minimize payouts and protect their bottom line. After a drunk driving accident, they may try to shift blame or downplay the severity of the injuries you sustained. This is where your skilled attorney becomes particularly valuable.

An experienced attorney can deal with insurance companies on your behalf and handle all communications. They will present the evidence they have to prove liability and your losses. When the insurer presents a settlement offer, your car accident attorney will advise you whether it is a fair offer or not.

Often, initial offers are low. Your lawyer will then negotiate with adjusters and work to convince them of how much you truly deserve. Often, these negotiations result in a fair settlement offer, which you can accept to resolve your case.

If the insurance company refuses to admit liability or offer enough compensation to cover your losses, your attorney can take additional steps. They can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court and continue to pursue the financial recovery you deserve in the civil justice system.

Taking Away Stress

Finally, navigating the legal process can be overwhelming for accident victims, especially when you’re already dealing with physical and emotional pain. An attorney can provide invaluable support and guidance throughout the legal proceedings, such as by handling paperwork, communicating with insurance companies and other parties involved, and representing your interests in court if necessary.

Once you have a trusted lawyer on board, you do not have to worry about missing a deadline or what happens next.

Get the Skilled Representation You Need From a Car Accident Lawyer

Victims of drunk driving car accidents must get legal help as soon as possible. Again, a skilled drunk driving attorney can assist by investigating the accident, gathering evidence to support your claim, and negotiating with insurance companies.

They can also represent you in court if necessary, advocating for your rights and seeking maximum compensation for your damages. An experienced lawyer can ensure you understand your legal options and help you make informed decisions about your case, ensuring you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.

Please don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Consultations are free.

Steve Fields Author Image

Steve Fields

Founder | CEO | Principal | Attorney

Steve Fields founded Fields Law in 2001 and quickly established a reputation with his Personal Injury clients for being a lawyer who truly cares. After more than 20 years, those clients continue to refer their friends and family whenever they have been injured or become disabled.

Author's Bio