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How Hard is it to Prove Fault in a Drunk Driving Accident?

August 30, 2019

There are over a million people arrested for drunk driving in this country every year. And, this number doesn’t include the over 100 million cases of self-reported drunk driving. This means the number of people injured in drunk driving accidents in South Carolina are dangerously high. A lot of people think that, if the defendant was drunk at the time of your car accident, they’re automatically liable. That isn’t true. Being drunk doesn’t cause an accident. Neither does being high. Car accidents are caused by negligence. This means that you have to prove fault of the other driver by breaching their duty of care toward you.

In order to prove negligence, your Columbia car accident lawyer has to prove the following:

  • The other driver owed you a duty of care
  • They breached this duty
  • You were injured
  • Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach

If they can prove all of these things, you may be entitled to compensation.

Proving fault in DUI crashes can be hard. It’s important that you have an experienced car accident attorney by your side. They know the when it comes to proving negligence. They also have years of experience handling cases just like yours.

Driving Drunk Doesn’t Prove Fault

Just because someone gets drunk or high and then drives, it doesn’t mean they’re automatically at fault. Yes, it makes it more than likely that they caused your car accident. But your Columbia car accident lawyer will need to prove a lot more than that.

If you think about it, this does make sense. If someone is drinking and then drives, they’re more likely to make a mistake behind the wheel. They may drive erratically and crash into oncoming traffic. Or, they’re too drunk to realize how fast they’re going and they cause a head-on collision.

The point is, being intoxicated is not the reason for the accident. It may have contributed or led to the defendant’s breach of care, but it wasn’t primarily responsible. This is why your car accident lawyer in South Carolina needs to prove your case.

If you think the insurance company is just going to write you a huge check, you’re wrong. They have to defend their company against DUI claims. Otherwise, they’d go out of business in no time.

The Insurance Company is Still Likely to Settle

The insurance company won’t automatically pay your claim just because their client was arrested for DUI. This much is true. However, they will be more likely to settle cases involving drunk driving.

Insurance adjusters know that juries are very sympathetic to victims in drunk driving accidents. If they have a feeling the jury will find in your favor, they’re not going to want to go to trial. They’ll be motivated to settle your lawsuit rather quickly.

The insurance company knows they’re going to pay more if they lose at trial than if they settle. A jury demand will be a lot higher than any settlement amount they offer. Rather than take this risk, they’re better off resolving the matter voluntarily.

The insurance adjuster has to walk a fine line when it comes to settlement negotiations. On the one hand, they know their client is probably at fault. However, they can’t afford to pay all claims that involve allegations of drunk driving.

Can You Be Found to be at Fault?

Even if the defendant was drunk driving at the time of the crash, that doesn’t mean you can’t be held responsible. South Carolina is a comparative fault state. This means that, as long as you’re less than 50% at fault, you can still recover damages against the other driver.

If you’re found to be partially responsible for your accident, your settlement or jury award will be reduced by that amount. So, if you’re 20% responsible for your accident, your damages will be reduced by 20%.

This means that, if your damages are $100,000, and you’re found to be 20% at fault, your settlement will be reduced by $20,000. Your attorney understands this and will keep it in mind during settlement negotiations.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina

If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, you need to contact an experienced car accident driver in Columbia, South Carolina. They can review your case and talk to the insurance adjuster. They can try to settle your accident claim.

Call today and schedule your initial consultation with Connell Law Firm. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.