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Steven M. Lee, PC

Q:
Can I receive compensation from a drunk driver for a car accident if I had also been drinking?

A:

If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, the fact that the other driver was drunk does not make him 100 percent negligent in causing your accident. Your own actions matter too. This is especially true if you had been drinking before driving, and your behavior can have consequences when you file a claim for compensation with the negligent driver’s insurance company.

How Could Your Own Drinking Before Driving Affect Your Drunk Driving Accident Claim?

The fact that you were also drinking does not eliminate your right to some compensation for your injuries. However, it could have legal and practical implications for your claim. Under Texas’ modified comparative negligence law, the value of your claim could be reduced.

Here is how this law could apply to your claim: If your consumption of alcohol contributed to your accident, comparative negligence laws will be applicable. As long as you were less than 51 percent at fault in causing your accident, you would be entitled to some compensation. If your intoxication was 51 percent or more the cause of your injuries, you would not be entitled to any compensation.

Assuming that your fault was less than 51 percent, your compensation would be reduced by your share of fault in causing the crash. However, your award could still be substantial. For example, if you are entitled to $300,000 in compensation and are found to be 20 percent at fault, you would still be entitled to $240,000 from the drunk driver.

There are also practical implications of your own drinking. Given the zero tolerance toward drunk driving, a jury may be less sympathetic to your case. In addition, the insurance company for the negligent driver will argue more vigorously that your own fault was significant in an effort to deny or reduce your claim.

However, you should not let this discourage you from pursuing the compensation you deserve. An experienced car accident attorney will have strategies to help defeat the insurance company’s arguments and convince them to settle your claim. Attorney Steve Lee has decades of experience helping clients like you. Start an online chat to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your situation and what you can realistically expect to receive when you file your claim.

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