June 14, 2021
It’s a common and everyday scenario. After a long week of working 9-5, perhaps you may want to go out with your coworkers, friends, or family. You guys might go out to a club, or a casual bar, or a restaurant and order a couple of drinks along with your food. After a couple of drinks, you may feel amenable to ordering more which may leave you in a condition where you’re not capable of driving defensively.
What most people will do is either sober up before driving again, order a rideshare, or if you’re carpooling, establish who is going to be the one person who will stay sober for the duration of the outing and drive the other individuals in the party back to their residences. But the one thing one should never do is drink and drive under the influence (i.e. drunk driving.) Driving puts you and everyone around you in danger as the driver’s motor functions are impaired to such a degree that they can’t maneuver or manage traffic as well as they would’ve if they were not drunk. The result being the event of a car accident.
But imagine a scenario in which you are sober, but your friend who is driving is not. After an argument in which he or she insists they’re fine you decide to just let them drive and you hope for the best; but the best doesn’t come to pass. Soon you’re in a car accident and while you weren’t driving or drunk, you were still injured. Can you sue the driver of the car for injuries sustained even though you were in the car that caused the accident?
The short answer is yes, as long as any personal injury issue meets the criteria that establish the definition of negligence, you can sue.
There’s also “Negligence Per Se” laws in which some states make it easier to make a negligence claim when the negligent act is also a violation of the law. Negligence Per Se laws do away with the need to prove the criteria that defines negligence when the law that is broken is designed to protect the public, thus making it indirect negligence or “Negligence Per Se”
That said, drunk driving is a crime in every state, and the driver convicted of it will endure more than just higher insurance premiums. They’ll also face jail time and a license suspension on top of all the fines they’ll receive.