Hit By a Car While Drunk: Who Is at Fault?

Hit By a Car While Drunk: Who Is at Fault?

Walking while drunk is safer than driving under the influence for others – but perhaps not for the intoxicated pedestrian. Walking while drunk in Denver could contribute to accidents such as serious pedestrian collisions. If a driver struck you while walking drunk, liability might not be as clear as if you had been sober. The driver may be able to use your intoxication as a defense. Learn Colorado’s negligence laws to better understand your rights during an injury claim.

Contributory Negligence Laws in Colorado

Most states abide by comparative or contributory negligence laws to determine fault in personal injury claims. Comparative negligence holds that both parties involved in the lawsuit – the plaintiff and the defendant – could absorb fault for the accident in question and still receive compensation. A victim may share fault for the accident that caused his or her injuries without losing the opportunity to recover financial compensation in the state of Colorado.

Colorado’s contributory negligence law states that a victim’s fault for an accident will not bar him or her from recovery in an injury action. The victim may still recover at least partial damages for the defendant’s negligence, as long as the defendant was more at fault than the victim. However, the courts will reduce the plaintiff’s compensation award by an amount equal to his or her percentage of fault.

An accident involving an intoxicated pedestrian could use the contributory negligence law if the pedestrian’s intoxication caused the accident. For example, if the intoxicated pedestrian stepped off the curb too soon, jaywalked, ignored crosswalk signals, failed to yield the right-of-way or otherwise acted negligently and this contributed to the accident, the defendant could potentially use the contributory negligence defense to minimize his or her liability.

Pedestrian Laws in Denver                  

Pedestrians in Denver have rights, but they also have a responsibility to obey all relevant traffic laws. Pedestrians must use a certain standard of care when walking the streets and sidewalks. They must obey traffic signals and pay attention to crosswalk signals. They cannot cross the street unless they do so safely at marked intersections and designated crosswalks.

Although pedestrians have the right-of-way in most situations, they must yield when applicable. Pedestrians should not leave the curb until it is safe to do so. If a pedestrian was walking while drunk or distracted before a collision, a courtroom may agree that intoxication compromised the pedestrian’s ability to walk safely or make sound decisions. This could lead to less compensation or none at all for the pedestrian.

Drivers also have duties of care in Colorado. Drivers must obey all traffic signals and come to complete stops. They must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists and pedestrians when appropriate. They should always obey speed limits, especially in residential areas, and should never drive drunk or drowsy. Proving fault for a pedestrian accident will take identifying which party mostly caused or contributed to the crash.

Maximizing Compensation for a Pedestrian Collision

If a vehicle struck you while you were intoxicated, hire a car accident attorney to help you work through your claim. A lawyer can gather any available evidence to prove the driver was more at fault for the collision than you were. This will protect your odds of obtaining compensation. Your lawyer may be able to find proof of the driver’s negligence or recklessness.

  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Neglecting to stop at a light or stop sign
  • Ignoring pedestrian rights-of-way

Evidence against the driver may include eyewitness accounts, surveillance footage of the pedestrian accident, photographs of the scene or testimony from collision experts. Your lawyer could then build a case against the driver to prove he or she was more at fault than you were, even if you were intoxicated. A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you maximize a compensation award after a serious pedestrian injury in Denver.