What Happens When an Injured Individual is Also the Drunk Driver?


Most of the time, when a person who is under the influence of alcohol is involved in a motor vehicle collision, people assume that they are the one to blame. However, there can be cases where an injured individual may have been intoxicated behind the wheel but is not at fault for an accident. Another driver who causes the crash through their own reckless or careless actions could bear complete responsibility, allowing the drunk/injured person to recover monetary damages for their losses from the negligent party.

While it is possible to seek compensation for injuries suffered, even as a drunk driver, these cases are extremely difficult to succeed in—and nearly impossible on one’s own. If you were harmed in a car crash while intoxicated but someone else’s misconduct was to blame, reach out to a car accident attorney at Yates & Wheland for help protecting your rights.

Determining Liability

In situations where there is a wreck involving two drunk drivers, the incident will be investigated to determine who is to blame. If one person is determined to be responsible for the crash for reasons besides drunk driving, such as speeding or failing to obey traffic laws, they could be assigned complete liability for the injuries of the other intoxicated driver. In situations where the negligent driver is sober but caused harm to an intoxicated driver, it can be extremely difficult to make a case or settle with the insurance companies.

Insurance companies often fall back on the idea that a jury will not take pity on a drunk driver who was unable to avoid the negligent driving of someone else. Juries simply may assign fault 50-50 to assign some blame to the intoxicated individual for getting behind the wheel. Tennessee is a comparative fault state, meaning if a plaintiff is assigned 50 percent or more responsibility for their own injuries, they will be unable to recover anything.

Significance of Insurance

In single-car accidents involving drunk drivers, it is imperative that they have their own health insurance plan. This will likely be their only road to recovery, as auto insurance policies will not pay for damages from an accident caused by a person’s own negligence.

Health insurance will usually be bound to pay for an injured individual’s medical bills and physical therapy, and other costs associated with the physical recovery from an injury, whether or not they are to blame. However, their pain and suffering will not be compensated by health or auto insurance in this kind of scenario.

Reach Out to a Dedicated Attorney Even if You Were Intoxicated

If you suffered injuries following a motor vehicle collision, you could have a right to pursue compensation from the negligent party—even if you were under the influence of alcohol at the time. As long as you can prove that your actions did not directly cause the crash, but rather someone else was to blame, you could pursue legal action.

However, these cases are not easy, as drunk drivers will undergo a lot of scrutiny from insurance companies and defendant attorneys who will try to assume you were to blame, or at least shared in the fault. A confident and tenacious lawyer could help you fight back against these claims and seek the financial awards that you deserve. Contact our loyal team of legal professionals today to get started on your claim.

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