Drunk Driving Accident: When Can I Sue?

Up to 32 people in a day die in drunk-related driving crashes across the U.S. Outside of these fatalities, many more people suffer injuries, some life-threatening and life-altering, in these alcohol-impaired driving accidents.


Suing a drunk driver will not only help to get you compensation for injuries but also hold the drunk driver accountable. This may make them want to think twice before ever getting behind the wheel while under the influence. With the help of DWI accident attorneys, you can file a lawsuit against a drunk driver and recover fair compensation.

When to Sue

The first thing you will want to do after your drunk driving accident is to bring a claim against the insurance companies. Unfortunately, claim settlement may not always be the way to resolve the matter of compensation, and you may need to go ahead and sue in the following scenarios.

1. Insurance Policy Limits Are Insufficient to Cover Costs

Your policy’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and the other driver’s policy will pay for medical bills and additional medical-related costs, as well as cover other costs such as lost wages.

Unfortunately, the minimum insurance policy limits may not be enough to cover you for all the costs, present and future. Your best recourse then becomes seeking compensation through litigation.

2. The Drunk Driver Is Uninsured

An insurance claim ceases being an option when the at-fault drunk driver is uninsured. In this case, there is no insurance company against which to bring the claim, and filing a lawsuit is the only option.

3. Wrong Denial of Insurance Claims

Insurance companies are responsible for acting in good faith in reviewing and investigating all claims brought against them. Unfortunately, the insurer may act in bad faith and wrongfully deny your drunk driving claim for any number of reasons. Filing a lawsuit against the drunk driver gives you a chance to receive fair compensation.

4. Not-So-Fair Settlement Offer

More often than not, insurance companies will offer a settlement for car accident liability cases, including drunk driving, much lower than what the case is really worth. Your lawyer will do their best to negotiate a great settlement for you, but suing is the way to go if the other party is unwilling.

Also, if you have already received a settlement offer from the insurance company, even before engaging a lawyer, ensure that your new counsel reviews it. If, after reviewing the offer, your lawyer finds that it is less than your case’s potential worth, your attorney will recommend moving ahead to file a lawsuit.

When to Sue Others

Yes. It’s possible to sue parties other than the drunk driver for damages. Your lawyer may recommend additional claims, especially where the drunk driver is uninsured or under-insured.

You can sue the party host or bar that provided alcohol to the driver in your case, in accordance with your state’s dram shop liability laws. In Connecticut, you can sue the establishment if the drunk driver was already visibly intoxicated at the time they were overserved with alcohol.

However, unlike some other states, the dram shop law in Connecticut doesn’t extend liability to a social host. Similarly, you can also bring a lawsuit against the drunk driver’s employer if they were working at the time of the accident.

Filing a Lawsuit with Evidence

A drunk driver isn’t automatically at fault for an accident. You will need to demonstrate that it’s the driver’s alcohol impairment that contributed to, or caused the accident. Similarly, you must prove the liability of other parties, such as the bar that served the driver.

Your choice of attorney will certainly make a huge difference in your case. An experienced DWI attorney will ensure you have all the necessary evidence compiled. Hence, you have a solid case when you bring a lawsuit for economic and non-economic damages against all the liable parties.

The backing of solid evidence, such as your testimony and witness testimonies, and police reports with DUI arrest records and BAC tests, will give you the confidence to proceed with suing the liable parties even when an unfair settlement is on offer.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *