What Are the Driver’s Responsibilities for Passenger Injuries in a DUI Accident?

March 13, 2020

If you’ve been injured in a DUI accident as a passenger, you might be wondering if you have any legal recourse. We all know that occupants of other cars involved (or their decedents) can sue for financial compensation. Passengers injured due to the actions of a driver under the influence in Redding, CA can also seek legal recourse. That being said, the value of a passenger’s claim may be reduced if they commit careless acts that contributed to an accident (such as supplying alcohol to a minor or accepting a ride when they knew the driver was drunk).

California’s laws regarding passenger responsibility

In cases where a plaintiff may be found at fault for an accident in which they were injured, California courts usually divide the damages by percentages—for instance, if you’re found to be 20 percent at fault for the accident, your total damages will be reduced by 20 percent. It’s important to note that this is only applicable in civil cases to recover money, and not criminal cases where drunk driving is punishable by fines, jail time and other consequences. This is known as “comparative fault.”

In fact, if you knowingly get into a car with an intoxicated driver while intoxicated yourself, that alone could be enough to assign a portion of the blame to you. On the other hand, if you didn’t know the driver was intoxicated, a jury might not hold you to the same standard. Another example is if you’re a minor driving with an intoxicated parent—practically speaking, the minor is presumed not to have a choice in the matter.

Negligence claims and DUI accidents

When pursuing a civil case against a drunk driver, you will most likely proceed under a theory of negligence. Put simply, negligence is when a person owes a duty of care to another person or group of people (in this case, to drive sober and carefully), they breached that duty (by driving drunk), and that breached caused injuries to a plaintiff. In other words, the plaintiff has to actually be damaged in some fashion, and also prove that their injury was the direct result of the defendant’s actions.

Comparative fault can be an effective way for insurance carriers to drive down the value of someone’s injury claim. As always, the best way to prevent exposure to comparative fault from DUI accidents is to make sure you always have a designated driver, and to never get in a car with someone you suspect has been drinking. And if you are injured by a drunk driver, you should get qualified legal counsel right away!

Injured passenger in a DUI accident in Redding, CA?

If you’ve been injured in a DUI accident where you were the passenger, you’re entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages. Call the skilled attorneys at The Law Offices of Max G. Arnold, Inc. today. We’ll fight to see you fairly compensated for your pain and suffering. Our team has over 35 years of experience in litigating personal injury cases, and we’re ready to help you. Call today to set up a consultation.

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