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I Was Injured in a Car Accident and the Driver Had Been Drinking – Will This Affect My Entitlement to a Claim?

I Was Injured in a Car Accident and the Driver Had Been Drinking - Will This Affect My Entitlement to a Claim?

A person affected by alcohol who ends up causing a car accident faces multiple problems once the hangover subsides.

For starters, there are likely to be police charges for driving under the influence which can result in fines, suspension of licence and even imprisonment.

If someone is killed as a result of the accident, a manslaughter charge is possible.

And if someone is injured as a result of the drunk driver’s actions behind the wheel, then the driver may be liable for a damages payout to the injured party because their driving was negligent and partially or wholly caused the accident.

What claim can be made against a drunk driver?

Australia’s states and territories run Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance schemes which provide funds to people injured by at-fault drivers, such as those driving under the influence.

Passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists who are injured as a result of an accident with a drunk driver can claim compensation from that driver’s CTP insurer, provided their negligence as a result of being alcohol-affected is clear-cut.

In general, people who drive a vehicle while affected by drugs or alcohol and are involved in an accident are automatically considered to be negligent.

Many claims by those injured through the actions of a drunk driver will settle their claim without going to court.

Contributory negligence

The legal concept of contributory negligence applies particularly to those people who are injured as a passenger while travelling in a car driven by an alcohol-affected driver.

If the passenger knew, or ought to have known, that the driver was intoxicated when they got behind the wheel and still relied on that driver’s skill and care, then the passenger may be considered to have contributed to the accident.

In this event, the passenger can still claim compensation but the damages payable to them may be reduced by a percentage amount based on an assessment of their contribution to the accident under Queensland’s Civil Liability Act.

What can you claim for?

A compensation claim by someone injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver is made against the CTP insurer of the driver.

Your entitlement to claim must be exercised within three years of the accident and may cover the injured party’s:

  • lost earnings from time off work;
  • estimated future lost earnings as a result of the injury;
  • care or support, whether professionally provided or by family members;
  • costs associated with rehabilitation, including modifications to a home and/or car to accommodate the injury;
  • travel and accommodation expenses.

Under Queensland legislation, you may also be entitled to have the reasonable costs of your recovery paid for by the CTP Insurer of the at-fault party, but legal advice should be sought.

Speak with compensation law specialists

Dealing with CTP insurers on a compensation claim can be a lengthy and stressful process.

By entrusting your matter to legal professionals who specialise in personal injury compensation, we can help smooth this process for you by gathering the necessary evidence and documentation needed to support your claim.

If you have questions about an accident caused by an intoxicated driver and your entitlement to claim, call Gold Coast compensation Lawyers today for an obligation-free appointment.