Proving liability in drunk driving accident cases

Despite increased awareness of the dangers, drunk driving remains a serious problem in Missouri, and throughout the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10,000 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in 2012, and many more were injured. As a result of these collisions, those who are injured, or the families of those who are killed, may incur undue expenses. This leads many to pursue legal action in order to receive compensation for their losses, including medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. Even when a drunk driver is likely responsible for causing the collision, however, the victims must prove that the motorist was at fault, and is therefore liable.

Often, with drunk driving accident claims, it is important to determine whether alcohol-impairment is the cause of the accident, or if a driver’s negligent actions due to their intoxication are to blame. For example, a driver who has had too much to drink is on his way home. He does not notice that a light has turned red and blows through it, crashing into another vehicle. In this case, the cause of the collision would technically be the negligent act of running the red light. If, however, an intoxicated driver is unable to control his or her vehicle, and sideswipes another car, alcohol would likely be considered the cause. Understanding the specific cause of the collision may help determine what type of evidence to include in the claim.

When alcohol intoxication is to blame for an accident, the police report may serve as valuable evidence for proving liability. This is particularly true if the motorist at-fault was arrested for DWI. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, a person with blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher who is operating a vehicle is generally considered to be a drunk driver. Should a motorist be tested for suspicion of alcohol-impairment, either through a breath test or blood test, the result is often listed on the police report. Records of the at-fault driver’s arrest and conviction for DWI can also be helpful in proving liability.

While it may seem easy, proving liability in drunk driving accidents can be complicated. Therefore, it may benefit those who are considering such action to seek legal counsel and representation. An attorney may advise them of their rights and options, and guide them through the process.


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