Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

Negligence Per Se in DUI Accidents

Posted Friday, November 26, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Driving drunk can have fatal consequences, and the state government has passed a number of laws to attempt to keep people from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol for that reason. Drivers who are intoxicated are over three times more likely to be involved in a collision than drivers who are not intoxicated, putting everyone on the road at risk. If you have been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be feeling frustrated, overwhelmed by medical bills, and unsure of how to move forward. The costs of these accidents, physically, financially, and emotionally, can be catastrophic. For many victims, the only way to recover is by bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party.

*How Negligence Per Se Can Help Your Personal Injury Claim * A personal injury claim allows the victim of another party’s negligence to hold them accountable for the harm that they caused, and recover all costs incurred as a result of the injury. This includes all medical and care costs, as well as lost income, lost earning potential, and compensation for pain and suffering, in addition to property damage. In order to succeed in your personal injury claim, you must generally first prove that the other driver was negligent. This requires demonstrating that the driver breached the duty of reasonable care owed to other drivers on the road. Generally, the jury will have to consider the evidence presented and make a determination as to whether the other driver was being reasonable or if they had breached their duty of reasonable care.

However, in Washington state, drunk drivers are considered to be negligent per se, or negligent as a matter of fact. Drunk driving laws were created in order to keep everyone on the road safe, so breaking this law is considered evidence of negligence on its face. In other words, the drunk driver will automatically be considered negligent and you will not have to spend valuable time convincing the jury of that fact. Rather, you will only have to demonstrate that the other driver was driving drunk in violation of the law and that their drunk driving was the direct or proximate cause of your injuries. In many cases, this will be easy to prove, particularly if the police charged the other driver with DUI. However, even if the police did not charge the driver with DUI that night, you can still present evidence to argue that they were in fact driving under the influence. This evidence may consist of video taken after the crash in which the driver was slurring their speech, or even a confession that the driver made for you. Circumstantial evidence such security camera footage or dashcam footage of erratic driving and witness accounts may also be beneficial. However, if you suspect the other driver may be drunk it is always best to speak up at the scene so that the police can properly test the driver and document any relevant information.

*Talk to the Pivotal Law Group * If you have been injured as a result of a drunk driving accident in Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or the greater Washington State area, that was not your fault, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.