More than 9,000 people are killed or injured on Britain’s roads every year according to the latest Department for Transport statistics – with 620 accidents involving drink-drivers reported in South West England alone.

Driving while over the legal alcohol limit, currently 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is against the law, but sadly people still do it and if you are unlucky enough to be injured by a drink-driver, you could be entitled to compensation, as Andrew Wendon, a Partner in the PI and Clinical Negligence Department at WBW Solicitors in Exeter, explains.

What to do if you are hit by a drunk driver

If you are injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, the first thing to do is call the police to report the accident and seek medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible. Try to gather as much evidence as you can at the scene. This could include:

  • noting down the driver’s name, contact details, insurance company and the registration number of his or her vehicle. If it was a commercial vehicle that hit you, note the name and contact details for the business;
  • photographing the scene, the drink-driver’s registration number, the damage caused to your vehicle and any visible injuries you may have; and
  • taking the names and contact details of any potential witnesses.

You may also find it helpful to keep a written account detailing everything you can remember about the accident and how it has affected you. Also note down any out of pocket expenses you have had to pay as a result of your injuries, such as medical bills, prescription charges or travel costs for appointments. Keep receipts for all of these.

Motor Insurers’ Bureau

Some insurers may refuse pay out if someone is under the influence of drink or drugs, or the driver may have absconded after the accident. If this is the case you can still claim compensation for your injuries through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. All insurance companies are required to pay money into a special fund each year so that victims of car accidents can receive the compensation they deserve.

How a solicitor can help

If you are injured by a drunk driver you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Our specialist personal injury lawyers have a wealth of experience at successfully claiming compensation in such cases and will quickly be able to tell you if you have a valid claim.

They will help you amass the evidence you need to build a robust case, and will arrange for you to be examined by a medical expert who will assess the effect your injury has had on your life.

They will work hard to win you an out-of-court settlement, but will be there to offer expert advice and speak on your behalf if the matter has to go to court.

The compensation you receive depends on how serious your injury is, your expected recovery time and how it has affected your life, but could include damages for:

  • pain and suffering;
  • loss of earnings;
  • additional medical treatment or rehabilitation;
  • out-of-pocket expenses;
  • adaptations required to your home.

For further information, please contact Andrew Wendon, a Partner in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Team at WBW Solicitors in Exeter, on 01392 260162 or email [email protected]. WBW Solicitors has offices in Newton Abbot, Torquay, Paignton, Bovey Tracey, Exeter, Launceston, Honiton Exmouth and Sidmouth.


This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.