How Substance-Impaired Driving Affects Car Accident Cases and Liability

How Substance-Impaired Driving Affects Car Accident Cases and Liability

Substance-impaired driving is a massive problem in the United States. Drivers impaired by drugs and alcohol suffer slower reaction times, poor hand-eye coordination, and weak decision-making skills. All of these combine to create a massive spike in car accidents among impaired drivers. Victims of car accidents suffer tremendously in these cases—knowing that another person’s intentionally unsafe choice is the cause of their injuries can add even more emotional trauma.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an impaired driving accident, let’s talk. The team at Olmstead & Olmstead is ready to help you find out if you’re owed compensation. Call us at 703-260-8752 to set up a personal injury consultation now.

Does Substance Impairment Prove Liability?

When a drunk or drugged driver causes a crash, their drug and alcohol screening results can go a long way in proving liability. From looking at the crash scene, police officers and investigators can often figure out what happened just by looking at the vehicles’ damage and final resting places. 

If the driver who made the critical error was impaired at the time of the crash, that definitely points to liability. When drivers get on the road, they have a duty of care to everyone else on the road. Their duty is to take reasonable steps to avoid causing harm to others. Driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol is a blatant and obvious failure of that duty.

Effects on Accident Reconstruction Efforts

In some situations, impaired drivers can complicate accident reconstruction efforts. Much of the work done by accident reconstruction efforts is based on what average people do when faced with an obstacle or driving situation. However, someone who is impaired isn’t the average person—they are operating with limited judgment, slower reactions, and altered perception. Accident reconstruction experts have to take that into account while investigating a crash. For that reason, your attorney may reach out to a reconstruction expert with in-depth knowledge of substance impairment-related crashes.

Insurance Coverage Issues

This is a sticky topic that varies across states and even insurance providers. In general, most car insurance companies will cover car accidents caused by drunk or drugged drivers. However, that does result in a massive premium spike for the at-fault driver. If they cause substantial damage, they may even be dropped from their insurance provider entirely when their next renewal period happens.

However, there are situations in which insurance companies will not pay out claims for a drunk driving crash. They may claim that the crash was a result of the covered driver’s criminal or intentional act. The insurance company could claim that the crash was intentional because the driver chose to drink or use substances to the point that they could not safely drive. This is one reason you need to talk to an attorney after a car accident in Manassas. They can push back against the car insurance company’s denial and advocate for you.

Compensation for Victims

Unfortunately, sober victims often bear the worst outcomes of a drunk driving accident. Yes, they will likely be able to recover compensation for the accident through the driver’s insurance provider. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to get everything they are owed. Generally, victims can only receive compensation up to the limits of the driver’s car insurance policy. 

Someone who makes the unsafe and unreasonable choice to drive while impaired is also likely not to carry enough insurance coverage to cover the full damage they cause while under the influence. If a driver carries the minimum amount of insurance required, the victim could be left with significant expenses. They may try to recover the rest from the driver personally, but unless the driver has sizable assets or income, they will probably be unsuccessful. A victim’s best bet is to work with an attorney and find out what their options are.

Fight for Compensation with Olmstead & Olmstead

If you’ve been injured in an impaired driving accident, let the team at Olmstead & Olmstead advocate for you. We know how painful and stressful this time is for you, and we want to make it as easy as possible. Set up your consultation now by calling us at 703-260-8752 or getting in touch online.

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