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Claiming For An Accident That Happened While Intoxicated

01 Apr 2021

If you’ve been injured in an accident that occurred while you were drunk, you may think that you will be unable to claim compensation for your injuries. However, there is a high possibility that you will still be able to claim in a personal injury case.

If you would like to speak about the specific details of your case and to assess its validity, you should speak to First Personal Injury as soon as possible.

To assess your claim, contact us on 0800 808 9740 or online.

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Will I Be Liable If I was Drunk?

If you were drunk at the time when your accident occurred, then it is highly likely that the defendant’s legal counsel will challenge who was at fault for the accident occurring. For a claimant’s personal injury case to be successful, they will need to prove that:

  • Somebody who owed you a duty of care was negligent.
  • This negligence led to the accident occurring. 
  • You suffered an injury due to this accident occurring.


In a scenario where you were drunk at the time of your accident, your solicitor will need to prove that although your intoxication might have contributed to the accident, it could’ve still happened regardless of your intoxication because of the other person’s negligence.

Therefore, your solicitor will either be able to prove that your blame for the accident occurring is completely negligible and should not be considered as a factor at all or they will prove that you are partly to blame. If it is decided that you are partly to blame for the accident, the amount of compensation that you receive might be reduced but the other party’s actions will still be considered to be the main factor for the accident occurring.

Drunk Driving And Drunk Walking

While your claim can still be valid even if you were drunk when the accident occurred, there is a chance that in certain circumstances you could be partly to blame due to being drunk. In a case that involves a car accident, there is a high chance that you could be considered to be at least at fault for your accident.

This is true even if you are a pedestrian who was drunk when they were hit by a car. Whether or not you are partly to blame for the accident will be determined by looking at the specific facts of the case.

For example, in the 1977 case of Owens vs Brimmell, the two parties in the case were friends who were drinking at a bar before the defendant decided to drive home. The defendant lost control of the car during this drive home and the claimant was injured.

In this case, the claimant was compensated but it was decided that because they chose to get into a car with someone who they knew was going to be driving while intoxicated, they were partly liable for the injuries they had suffered. Therefore, his compensation was reduced by 20%.

Both parties in this case were drunk and the judgement call of the claimant to place himself in a situation that had the potential to cause harm meant that he received a reduction in compensation.

]This is one specific scenario but there are lots of different scenarios where you could be drunk and the decisions or actions that you engaged in while drunk have made you partly responsible for the accident that you are claiming for.

Some of the most common accidents which could happen if you are drunk include:

  • Crossing the road without looking if it is safe to cross first.
  • Losing balance while walking along a path and therefore falling into traffic.
  • Laying in the road or another dangerous spot due to drunken intoxication.
  • Falling over while crossing the road.
  • Walking in the road rather than staying on the foot path.
  • ‘Play fighting’ with friends near to a road, which could result in someone being pushed or falling into traffic.
  • Ignoring road signals, which could cause you to step into traffic at a dangerous moment.

If you believe that you could be partly responsible for your accident due to being drunk, you should discuss this with your personal injury solicitor who will help to determine whether or not you are. If you were hit by a car while you were drunk, there is a possibility that you could still claim but the specific details of your case will determine this.

All road users, including drivers, have a responsibility to protect anyone else who is using the road or is around the road. Therefore, they must drive safely and at a reasonable speed to protect others, including pedestrians.

However, pedestrians are also considered to be road users and they are therefore expected to behave in a manner that protects others. Therefore, statements from witnesses and other evidence like CCTV will have to be used to determine the specific series of events that lead to your accident occurring.

If it is determined that the drive holds a greater fault for what happened, then you could still be able to claim.

Other Types Of Drunken Accidents

If you were injured in a public place, such as a shopping centre or a train station, while drunk, you could still be able to claim. This is because the owner/operator of these public places has a responsibility to protect your safety. Even if you were drunk when the accident occurred, the owner/operator could be liable for your accident if: [br]

  • Damaged handrails on stairs.
  • Blocked pathways.
  • Uneven flooring or pathways.
  • Slippery floors where there are no warning signs to indicate that the floor is wet and slippery. 
  • Poor lighting in the public place, making it difficult to safely see where you are walking and to avoid obstacles which could cause injury.

You would be eligible to claim compensation in any of these scenarios, even if you were drunk at the time when the accident occurred.

If you want to claim for an accident that occurred while you are at work, there is a high likelihood that your claim would either be unsuccessful or you would be considered partly responsible due to being drunk on the job. However, once again, the specific details of your case would need to be reviewed. Speak to First Personal Injury if you would like to find out whether you can claim in your specific scenario.

Making Personal Injury Claims

If you have suffered a personal injury, you may be entitled to receive compensation. First Personal Injury solicitors are available to assist you and ensure that you win the compensation that you deserve.