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Can I Still Make A Personal Injury Claim If My Accident Happened When I Had Been Drinking?

The Christmas party season is in full swing and many people will have enjoyed a drink or two with family, friends and colleagues. Whilst it is nice to have a drink, it can also cause problems as alcohol can affect perception, judgment as well as slow a person’s reaction time.

Whether or not a personal injury claim is impacted by the fact the Claimant has been drinking will depend on the facts of an individual case but just because the accident happened after a few drinks does not automatically mean that a claim is doomed to fail.

A Defendant may allege that the fact that a Claimant had been drinking is the sole cause of the accident. For example, if a Claimant fell over somewhere where there was no defect or hazard then it is unlikely a claim would succeed as there is no evidence that the Defendant was negligent or had done something wrong that caused the fall.

In addition to proving that a Defendant was negligent, a Claimant also needs to show that it was this negligence that was a direct cause of their injuries. This means that in a situation where the sole reason for the injury is the Claimant being unable to react quickly enough to prevent it, a claim could fail.

However, just because a Claimant has been drinking does not mean that a Defendant can get away with not discharging their duty of care. Where it can be shown that an accident and the injury would have occurred regardless of whether or not the Claimant has been drinking, then a Defendant will still be held liable and be required to pay compensation.

It is also possible to have a situation where the Defendant admits that they are partly at fault but also alleges that the fact that the Claimant had been drinking contributed to the accident or that their injuries were more severe as a result. This is known as contributory negligence.

In cases where contributory negligence is alleged, the Defendant will usually propose a split in liability. This is usually put to the Claimant in percentage terms; for example if they allege that both parties are equally to blame they will accept 50% liability. Alternatively, in cases where the Defendant is largely to blame but not completely they could accept 75% or 80% of the liability.

In cases where contributory negligence is successfully argued, the compensation a Claimant is awarded is reduced by the same degree that they are found to be at fault. So if a Claimant is found to be 40% at fault, their compensation is reduced by 40% to reflect this.

If you have had an accident and had been drinking, it is important to be upfront about this so that you can get full and proper advice on whether or not this will affect your claim. In addition to this, failing to disclose this information could lead to serious allegations of fundamental dishonesty if it comes to light further down the line and was not mentioned.

If you have had an accident that is not your fault, it is important for you to seek advice from a specialist personal injury lawyer to ensure that you get advice on all of the potential issues that could affect your claim. Call our experts now on 0330 822 3451 or request a callback online.

Further Reading Sarah Townsend
Personal Injury