Can I Sue for My Injuries If I Was Drunk?

Were you ever injured in a motorcycle accident because of someone else’s fault while you were driving drunk? Did you think that you couldn’t sue – file a lawsuit or be compensated for your injuries because you were drunk?

If that’s what you thought, you’re not alone. I’ve spoken with people who were hurt while riding drunk and people who were drunk but were passengers who thought they couldn’t sue because they were drunk. I’ve even been told by other lawyers that there is no case.

Recently, I settled a case for a drunk passenger. The insurance company tried to offer several reasons not to pay. First, the insurance company argued that the passenger caused the accident by creating a disturbance when he was drunk. Later, they argued that he provided alcohol to the driver got him drunk also. Because the insurance company was not able to prove any of that, they had to pay.

In another case, my client was riding a motorcycle while drunk and was struck by a car in a hit-and-run accident. Approximately 90 minutes after getting on his motorcycle, his blood alcohol concentration was determined by the hospital to be 0.18%.

The insurance company hired a toxicologist who wrote that the hospital records indicate that my client lost control of his vehicle and fell off. He also wrote “0.18% is significantly in excess of New York State statutory limit for intoxication of .08%. In order for a level of 0.18% to be achieved, Mr. X would have had to have consumed a minimum of 9-11 drinks.” The toxicologist stated this is equivalent to 12 (12 ounce) beers which made him markedly impaired and that this caused or significantly contributed to the motorcycle accident.

My argument was that the insurance company could not prove that my client caused the motorcycle accident. If my client, who was drunk, had been traveling through an intersection with a green light and was struck by a car which ran a red light, the car would have been negligent in causing the accident and not my client because he was drunk. I settled this case for $155,000.

Also see Can You Get Money for Injuries If You Were Driving without a License?