The Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation estimates that drinking and driving costs Americans around $132 Billion each year – which comes to about $400 per person, man, woman, and child. And that $400 toll doesn’t even begin to approach the amount of money lost when you’re the victim of a drunk driving accident – if you survive to pay it.
While it’s tempting to believe that drunk drivers should be financially penalized for their choices, their intoxication level doesn’t automatically entitle you to additional damages. Once it’s established that the driver was so impaired by alcohol or drugs that he or she could not drive with the ability of a non-intoxicated person, the driver is considered negligent. However, your actions could possibly be deemed negligent as well, depending on the facts of the accident.
If there’s a dispute as to who’s at fault, drunkenness may be a factor in the driver’s credibility. Ultimately, your settlement amount is mostly determined by the facts of your case, how badly you were injured, how much treatment you required, how much time off of work you had to take, and what the prognosis is for your physical recovery. The good news is that your claim will more likely be settled out of court, since insurance companies usually want to avoid trying cases in which their insured was driving while intoxicated.