An accident claim can protect you even if you have suffered from the worst of injuries. No one wants to get hurt when they have a night out on to the town. They expect to have some fun with their friends and make some happy memories. Well, sometimes the events of the night can have some unexpected twists and turns. Getting drunk means that you may end up making yourself more vulnerable than you would like to admit. Not only is it more likely that you could lose your balance, but being intoxicated could put you more at risk for a criminal injury. This includes being mugged, violent fights or something much worse.
If you have had an accident whilst drunk, it’s common to believe that you can’t make a claim. After all, you were the person that decided to drink and therefore any disorderly conduct is on your head. This means that you cannot possibly be able to make a claim. Well, this isn’t exactly true. There are special circumstances that could make you eligible for compensation for an accident in a public place. After you have finished reading about these types of public accident claims, don’t forget to visit Gowing Law’s public accident compensation page to ensure you know everything you need to know about making a claim:
Why does being drunk not make me eligible for an accident claim?
Being intoxicated on a night out can make it more likely that there will be challenges to who was at fault. After all, are you sure that what you remember is exactly what happened? Having even a small amount of alcohol can leave you feeling tipsy and disorientated. Therefore, events may have played out in a different way than you could remember. This could make it less likely that you could make a claim. In fact, it may even make it more likely that your drinking activities actually contributed to the accident.
To make yourself eligible for any sort of claim, you need to show that:
Although the alcohol may have contributed to your accident, it does not mean that it was the overall reason that you were hurt. The public accident happened regardless of whether you were drinking or not. Therefore, it was not your fault that it happened in the first place. The fact that employees/employers did not look after you, and contributed to you getting hurt, simply means that you may have a higher chance of claiming for compensation.
Keep in mind that dark lighting, slippery falls and untrained staff could also cause an accident, even if you are already drunk. This is because your motor skills will not be fully focused in order to protect yourself if you are drunk.
What should I do if I have been assaulted whilst drunk?
There is a clear relationship between drinking and violence. So, if you are intoxicated whilst on a night out, the chance that you may be accosted in the street or get involved in a fight becomes more likely. You can claim compensation if you were assaulted in a drunken fight. However, keep in mind that this would not actually be a public accident claim. Instead, it would be a criminal injury claim. You can speak to a solicitor in order to get help to file a report. You will also need to have reported the incident to the police and complied with the investigation. It is only after this has been concluded that you can start working on your criminal injury claim. This claim will be made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
You will need to make your claim within two years of the date of your assault. The good news is that even if you cannot fully remember who your attacker was then you can still make a claim for physical, emotional and financial losses. Just remember to report the crime to the police before you start making your own preparations for your compensation case.
Drivers & Drunk Pedestrians
Speaking to vehicle owners, if you are involved in a pedestrian accident, and the pedestrian was drunk, there is still a chance that you could be blamed for the accident. You should never leave an accident as this could mean that it is classified as a hit and run incident. Instead, you should call the authorities and let them get a clear indication of what happened so that it can be transferred to a police report.
It is important for drivers to obey the rules of the road and adhere to a “duty of care” towards everyone who shares the space with you. If a drunk pedestrian does mistakenly try to cross the road, and maybe falls over, it is up to you to make sure that they are safe by protecting them against your vehicle and any others that may injure them. If you fail to do this and your actions do end up getting the person hurt, you could be liable for their damages.
The best way to tell who is at fault for this kind of accident is honestly to look at the evidence. A CCTV camera or dash-cam may be the deciding factor. Take a look below to see an example:
What should you do if you can’t remember how exactly you got hurt?
This is where things can get complicated. If you ended up blacking out during your night out, you may struggle to remember what exactly happened when you got hurt. Worse still, you probably won’t be able to remember whether or not you were the cause of your accident. You wouldn’t want to blame someone incorrectly. That’s why it’s important that you gather as much evidence as possible.
The first thing you should consider is retracing your steps. If you went out with friends, ask them about your moves and see if they can serve as witnesses if you did get hurt due to someone else’s negligence. You can also go back to the venues you visited and ask staff if they remember anything. You could also ask to see CCTV evidence to see if you can catch your actions over the course of the evening.
Keep in mind that it may be harder to claim for public accident compensation if you genuinely can’t remember the events of the night. That’s why you should seek legal counsel to try and figure out whether or not it is worth even pursuing a claim.
What can I claim if I ask for drunk injury compensation?
If you are going to make a compensation claim for a drunken injury, your damages can be categorized into “general damages” and “special damages”. Your general damages are your physical injuries. Think of them as a way of accounting for you pain and suffering. That way if you suffer any disabilities or long-term effects, you could claim for compensation. You can also claim for special damages if you have suffered from financial losses.
Here are some more specific examples that you could choose to claim for:
- Physical injuries
- Emotional damages
- Travel expenses
- Loss of wages/earnings
- Loss of opportunity (i.e. a promotion at work)
- Expense of care and therapies
- Medical expenses
What sort of evidence do I need to make a compensation claim?
If you are going to make a compensation claim, it’s important that you have evidence to back them up. Without evidence then it simply turns into a case of “he said-she said.” You need to prove that you were not liable for your injuries. Drinking made you more vulnerable and someone else may have been at fault for you getting hurt. Evidence is the key to getting a high pay-out. That’s why you should aim to get as much as possible before you are taken to the hospital to have your wounds checked out. Here are some examples of the evidence that you could collect:
- Videos and CCTV footage
- Witness Statements
- Diary Entries
- Police Reports
- Medical Reports
- Evidence of a loss of wage/promotion
- Communication with your insurance company/ the insurance company of the other party
Keep in mind that some of your evidence will need to be collected during the accident, whilst other evidence will need to be collected afterwards. For instance, you will be able to call the police to come to the scene of the accident. However you will only be able to get a medical report after the accident has happened. Remember this when you finally collect your evidence and bring it to your solicitor to be organized.
What should I do if I have an accident on a drunken night out?
No matter what type of venue you are at, such as a nightclub, bar, pub or restaurant, if you are hurt during a drunken night out then the first thing you should do is alert the staff. You could have been injured due to:
- A bar fight
- Slipping on an uneven pathway/flooring/staircase
- Bad lighting
- Burns from hot plates
- Food/alcohol poisoning
Alerting the staff can help you have the incident placed in the venue’s accident work book. Emergency services can then be called to help you with any injuries that you have suffered due to the accident. During this time, you may also want to call the police in order to have a police report created. You should also start looking for the evidence that can prove that you were not responsible for your injuries, including witness statements from people nearby who saw your accident. However, first and foremost, focus on your health. That way you can make sure that your wounds don’t get any worse. Being drunk, you will be vulnerable. Therefore, you will need help.
How much compensation could I receive for an accident claim?
The amount of compensation that you claim will depend on the extent of your injuries, the amount of evidence you have and whether or not you were liable for your accident. If you have suffered from terrible injuries, or an accident that has changed your life, you could claim up to a seven-figure pay out. To figure out how much you could potentially gain for your incident, you will need to speak to a solicitor. They should be able to give you an estimate. This should help you figure out a potential settlement fee to get started with your claim. You can share this figure with the person responsible for your injuries and their insurance provider.
How long do I have to make an accident claim if I was drunk?
You should have around 3 years from the time you got hurt to make a claim. This is why you should try and make your claim as quickly as possible. That way you won’t lose any vital evidence and also give your solicitor the maximum amount of time to organize your case and put it forward in its best light. Remember to keep up-to-date with the latest information about your claim. Your solicitor can give you a timeline to ensure that you know exactly how your accident claim is going.
Gowing Law can help you with your public accident claim!
Public accident claims can quickly get complicated if you do not have the help of a legal specialist. This is where Gowing Law Solicitors can step in to help you with your claim. We can offer free advice and consultations to get you started. These can all be undertaken remotely. If you are happy to work with us, our solicitors can offer you their services on a “no win-no fee” basis. That means you will always come out on top, even if you do not have a successful court case.
Read more about public accident claims
When you have an accident, you may be wondering about what you need to know about compensation claims before you move forward. This is why we update our blog with new content about a range of different accident claims. Our blog is updated weekly so you can always find a topic to read about. If you cannot find the subject you need, why not let us know? We would be more than happy to write about your suggestions. Send them in to email@example.com.
We look forward to seeing you in our next blog.