Reasons Why a Drunk Driver May Not Always be at Fault
Everyone knows that driving drunk is a crime. If you’re caught, you face a myriad of consequences. Those sentences increase tenfold when a drunk driver causes an accident, damaging property or causing personal injury. Did you know that a drunk driver isn’t always at fault for an accident, though?
It might sound surprising at first, but there are a number of factors that go into determining liability. So, when is the inebriated party found not guilty of the wreck? Here are some interesting reasons why a drunk driver might not at fault.
Regardless of the circumstances of the case, both the prosecution and defense are working to establish which client is at fault. The guilty party must then pay for the damages or pay through their insurance. To determine fault, courts and lawyers look at the following:
- Duty of care
Duty of care is your responsibility to avoid causing harm to others whenever possible. Breach, in a nutshell, is the action or lack of action that caused an accident. It is the breach of duty of care. Causation is how that breach caused any damages or injuries.
Factoring in Alcohol
Showing that one party was drunk isn’t enough to prove fault in court. Regardless, DUI attorneys must prove that a person’s blood alcohol wasn’t enough for them to breach their duty of care. More importantly, they focus on causation.
Even when drunkenness is enough to prove a driver breached duty of care, these two factors can become irrelevant when it is clear that the non-drunk party caused the accident. If a sober driver rear-ended a drunk driver, for instance, then the inebriated party is not at fault.
If a drunken driver was traveling down the wrong side of the road, the case is a little more clear-cut. Being drunk is also enough to sway most courts when determining fault is incredibly difficult. While the driver in question will still receive a DUI, they will not face further consequences when an attorney can prove that causation falls on the non-drunk party.
A Difficult Instance
Imagine that a sedan is struck by a truck at an intersection. This generally happens when a large truck cannot stop as the light turns yellow, and the car travels through as their light turns green. Now imagine that the driver of the sedan was drunk.
If they had the green light and the truck could not stop, who is at fault? Both drivers have duty of car, but who caused the breach? A NOLA truck accident lawyer has handled several difficult cases exactly like this one.
The truck driver’s defense attorney would argue that the car failed in their duty of care by not responding to the truck’s horn, signaling other driver to wait until they passed the intersection. Had the driver not been drunk, they would not have caused an accident.
The drunk driver’s defense would argue that their client’s BAC had nothing to do with it. The truck driver was irresponsible, speeding too fast to properly stop at the light as they should have. That’s the challenge of determining causation, and it is the only way that a drunk driver might not be responsible for an accident. So, who do you think is responsible in this scenario?