How a Drunk Driver’s Criminal Record Impacts an Injury Claim

Nobody ever expects to get in a car accident. Car crashes can take place faster than you can realize what’s happening, and they can change your life forever. No matter how careful you are or how good a driver you are, there’s always the possibility that a negligent driver can mess things up for you.

Much of the time, however, negligent drivers have a history of negligence. Whether in the form of a history of drunk driving, reckless driving, or general negligence, the driver who hit you may have a paper trail indicating a tendency to drive in a way that’s likely to cause an accident.

We focus this article on drivers with a record of drunk driving, in particular, but much of what’s said here can also apply to drivers with a history of other types of negligent driving. The other driver’s poor driving record can give you an advantage in proving negligence.


Statistics on Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is a major cause of deaths on American roadways. Every death from drunk driving is preventable, and at the present there are roughly 10,000 drunk driving deaths per year. This is down by about a third since the 1980s, due to tighter enforcement of drunk driving laws. But far too many people lose their lives in unnecessary accidents because of drunk driving.

Driving while drunk is a reckless and preventable risk. Everyone already knows that drunk driving is one of the most common causes of accidents and that it leads to more severe injuries than any other type of accident. Most of all, in the age of Uber and Lyft, there is no reason for someone to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. The 10,000 deaths a year due to drunk driving can be prevented.

Preventing Drunk Driving

A little effort at planning ahead can be the difference between a fun night and a serious accident due to drunk driving. If you’re planning on drinking, make sure you won’t be tempted to drive. Choose a designated driver and plan your ride home before you even start drinking.

If you drink without a designated driver, call a taxi, an Uber, or a Lyft. Find some other form of transportation to help you get back home. There’s no good reason for you to get behind the wheel in that state.

If you have a friend who has been drinking, or if you see someone trying to drive drunk, stop them as soon as you can. Take their keys and help them get a ride.

How the Other Driver’s History of Drunk Driving Could Help Your Claim

The short version goes like this: the court doesn’t know you or the other driver personally. They can only judge the case on its merits, which includes the driving records of both drivers. So a driver who has a history of driving under the influence of alcohol, or engaging in any other type of negligent driving practices, will appear less credible to the court.

Of course, the court will also take into account things like the number of offenses, the length of time since the offenses took place, and the severity of the offenses. A driver who had one DUI 20 years ago will generally be in much better standing than a driver who has had three DUIs in the last five years, for example.

If there is confusion about who was at fault in an accident or if negligence caused an accident, a history of drunk driving on the part of one of the drivers can be a major factor in the court’s judgment.


From the Author: Drunk Driving Crashes