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Claiming Against a Drunk Driver in the UK

March 28, 2024

Finding yourself or a loved one in an accident caused by a drunk driver is pretty much a nightmare scenario for most motorists. Beyond the immediate shock and recovery from injuries, navigating the legal and insurance maze to claim compensation can feel daunting. But, understanding your rights and the steps to take can significantly smoothen this process, ensuring you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Let’s take a closer look at your options.

Legal Consequences for Drunk Driving in the UK

In the UK, drunk driving is a serious offence, and can attract hefty fines, driving bans, and potential imprisonment. The legal limit for alcohol levels in the blood, breath, or urine is strictly enforced, and exceeding it while behind the wheel constitutes drunk driving. 

Reporting the Incident

Immediately after the accident, ensure the incident is reported to the police, especially if you suspect the other driver is under the influence. This not only fulfils a legal requirement but also ensures that the incident is officially documented; the police report will play a pivotal role in your claim, serving as a key piece of evidence for your claim.

Seeking Medical Attention

Safety comes first, so make sure to seek medical attention immediately after the accident, even if you feel no immediate pain. Some injuries - like whiplash or even a concussion - may not present symptoms immediately, plus, documenting your medical reports is going to be essential for your claim, as it establishes a link between the accident and your injuries.

Essential Evidence for a Claim

You’ll also want to make sure to gather enough evidence; this includes photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, and the police report. If you suspect the other driver was under the influence, noting their behaviour and any comments made at the scene can also be helpful. It’s also worth noting that it’s important to be honest in your claim; even if you might resent the drunk driver for causing the accident, you don’t want to be dealing with false accident claims. Be honest and upfront.

Filing a Claim Against the Drunk Driver

Once you've gathered all necessary evidence, it's time to file your car accident insurance claim. This process involves either you or your insurance company notifying the drunk driver's insurance company of your intent to claim. Ensure your claim is detailed, including evidence of the driver's intoxication, the damage to your vehicle, and any personal injuries.

Am I Entitled to Compensation from a Drunk Driver?

Compensation in drunk driving cases can cover a wide range of damages, including medical expenses, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and more. Put simply, the severity of your injuries and the circumstances of the accident will largely determine the compensation amount.

Working with Insurers

Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, especially when claiming against a drunk driver. You might find that insurers attempt to minimise your compensation, so make sure to stand firm, backed by your evidence, and don’t hesitate to seek legal advice to ensure fair treatment and compensation.

Legal Proceedings

If the insurance settlement isn’t satisfactory, or if the insurer denies your claim, legal proceedings might be the next step. In short, this means taking your case to court, where a judge will decide on the compensation based on your injuries or financial losses. Legal representation is highly recommended at this stage to ensure the best outcome.

Resolution and Compensation

Ultimately, the goal is to reach a resolution that compensates you fairly for the injuries and damages sustained due to the drunk driver's negligence. While the process can be lengthy, understanding your rights and the steps involved, coupled with professional guidance, can lead to a successful claim.


Can I claim compensation if the drunk driver flees the scene?

Yes, you can still claim compensation even if the drunk driver flees the scene. It's crucial to report the incident to the police immediately. The Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB) provides compensation for victims in cases where the driver is untraceable or uninsured. However, you must demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to identify the driver, which includes promptly reporting the accident to the police and your insurance company.

How long do I have to make a claim against a drunk driver?

In the UK, the general limitation period for making a personal injury claim is three years from the date of the accident. However, there are exceptions, such as for children (who have until their 21st birthday) or for those who are mentally incapacitated. It's important to initiate the process as soon as possible to ensure that evidence is fresh and to avoid any potential complications arising from the delay.

What if the drunk driver is uninsured or does not have sufficient insurance to cover my claim?

If the drunk driver is uninsured or underinsured, you can still seek compensation through the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB). The MIB compensates victims of accidents caused by uninsured and untraced drivers. It's essential to have reported the accident to the police and to have sought legal advice to navigate the MIB claim process effectively.