Auto collisions involving drunk drivers tend to be more severe than other accidents. Drunk drivers will hit pedestrians and not even realize it, or they will lose consciousness across the centerline and take no steps to avoid an accident. Therefore, many drunk driving cases are very serious.
The other issue is if somebody is convicted of impaired driving, that assists the lawyer in proving their liability because it is a prima facie proof of liability (it is subject to rebuttable argument). If they are charged and convicted with driving under the influence of alcohol, then they are likely to be held responsible for a Collingwood drunk driver accident.
Drunk driving accidents tend to happen later at night when people are coming back from bars, as well as after sporting events and even during holidays, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Surprisingly, there are sometimes drunk driving cases in the morning. The individuals go home, go to bed, get up thinking they are fine, but they are actually still drunk.
Another common occurrence is older impaired drivers. Sometimes older impaired drivers will go out for a happy hour, and they will be driving home for dinner at four or five in the afternoon after they have had something to drink.
If the injured person is also the drunk driver, that will obviously harm their liability case. A judge or jury may say that they are at fault for their own accident because they were drunk. That may not necessarily be the case, but they will be partially liable if they are drunk at the time of the collision, even if they didn’t cause it.
The courts will still look at the relative negligence of both drivers, but if somebody is impaired, obviously that goes into consideration. If the other driver was speeding, texting, or running a stop sign, the courts will still compare what percentage of negligence belongs to then and what percentage belongs to the victim. The victim will be only entitled to the percentage of their claim that is attributable to the negligence of the other party.
They may not be entirely liable. However, if they are charged criminally for impaired driving, there are some benefits that they will be prevented from pursuing. The system will penalize them, and they may be only entitled limited benefits if they are convicted of drunk driving.
Otherwise, the plaintiff in an impaired driving case can seek statutory accident benefits, as well as general damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, past and future out-of-pocket expenses, and medical and rehabilitation expenses.
In Ontario, a civil action for personal injury is processed separately from criminal actions driving under the influence. Although the injured victim would be a witness, the police would conduct their own investigation. There would be a separate criminal proceeding for the impaired driving case that would be separate and distinct from the Collingwood drunk driver accident case.
The injured driver does not have to press charges against the drunk driver. The decision as to whether to press charges may be influenced by the victim, but it will be the police service and the crown attorney’s office that will decide to proceed with charges.