Drunk Driving Crashes And Comparative Fault
Were you recently injured in a drunk driving crash caused by an impaired driver? You should be making plans to speak with a Shreveport drunk driving injury lawyer to find out more about your options for seeking compensation, including the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the intoxicated motorist who caused the wreck. In some drunk driving crash cases, the injured party or parties — the plaintiff or plaintiffs who were not the intoxicated drivers — can be surprised and dismayed to learn that the defendant is arguing the plaintiff is also partially to blame for the collision and for their injuries.
Does the issue of comparative fault actually arise in drunk driving cases? Our Shreveport personal injury attorneys can discuss this issue with you.
Severity of Drunk Driving Collisions in Louisiana
In drunk driving wrecks in and around Shreveport, it might seem obvious who is at fault for the crash: the drunk driver. To be sure, driving after drinking alcohol or taking drugs can result in significant impairment that can ultimately lead to serious and deadly crashes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were a total of 11,654 people killed in alcohol-impaired collisions in 2020 alone, meaning that drunk driving crashes resulted in approximately 30 percent of all traffic-related deaths. To put that number another way, more than 30 people die everyday in an alcohol-impaired collision, and there is one drunk driving fatality every 45 minutes in America.
Nearly 40 percent of people who are killed in alcohol-impaired wrecks are passengers in a vehicle with the drunk driver, are drivers or occupants of another vehicle involved in the crash, or are non-occupants, such as bicyclists or pedestrians. In many drunk driving cases, breathalyzer tests and other evidence can prove that the drunk driver was negligent. Yet can the injured person — in another vehicle, for example, or on a bicycle — also bear some responsibility?
Comparative Fault and Drunk Driving Lawsuits in the Shreveport Area
When could comparative fault arise in a drunk driving case? In short, if the drunk driver believes the plaintiff also bears some responsibility for the crash or their injuries due to negligence, that drunk driver may raise the issue of comparative fault. Under Louisiana law, Louisiana courts use a “pure comparative fault” model. This means that the plaintiff will not be barred from recovery if they are found to be partially at fault. Instead, regardless of the plaintiff’s percentage of fault, their damages award will be reduced by their percentage of negligence.
What kinds of situations could involve a plaintiff having their damages reduced due to comparative fault? The following are some plaintiff behaviors to consider:
- Distracted driving at the time of the crash, including texting while driving;
- Speeding at the time of the crash; or
- Failing to wear a seat belt.
Contact a Shreveport Intoxicated Driving Attorney
Do you need help filing a drunk driving injury claim? One of the Shreveport impaired driving lawyers at Rice & Kendig, LLC can speak with you today about options for insurance claims and lawsuits.