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Drunk Driving Accidents Lawyers

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Drunk Driving Accidents Lawyers

An individual driving while intoxicated may face criminal charges for drunk driving and a civil lawsuit for any damage that they may have caused while driving drunk. A civil lawsuit is filed by anyone harmed by the individual driving while intoxicated. If the defendant is convicted of drunk driving, it is easier for the plaintiff to win their lawsuit. A plaintiff usually brings a negligence action against the defendant in this sort of situation.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence is a legal term that describes when a person fails to act as a reasonable person would in the same circumstances.

How Can I Win My Negligence Claim?

A plaintiff must prove specific elements of a negligence claim in order to win. These elements are:


  • Duty: This element decides whether the defendant owed the plaintiff the duty to protect him from harm.
  • Breach of Duty: Once duty is established, the plaintiff must show the duty was violated or breached.
  • Cause: The plaintiff proves the defendant was the direct or indirect cause of his injury. In other words, the accident caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • Damages: This is where the plaintiff shows bills and estimate for the physical injuries suffered and/ or any property loss.


Actual Cause Vs. Proximate Cause

Causation is separated into two categories: actual cause and proximate cause. When determining actual cause, the court uses the “but for” test. In a drunk driving context, the argument would be that but for the defendant drinking and driving, the plaintiff’s injuries would not have occurred.


Proximate cause, or legal cause, is the defendant’s actions being legally responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. For example, the defendant was drunk while driving and hit a pedestrian. The plaintiff swerved to miss the injured pedestrian and struck a tree. The defendant was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s accident because the defendant was legally responsible for creating the situation that caused the plaintiff's accident.

Are There Any Defenses to Drunken Driving Accidents?

Yes, a defendant does have defenses available to them, including:

Should I Talk to a Lawyer about My Drunk Driving Accident?

If you have any questions about your rights, ability to sue, or defenses, you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. They can answer your questions, and help you with any legal actions that you may face or wish to pursue.

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-28-2015 05:00 PM PDT

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