I Got Hit By A Drunk Driver, What Compensation Am I Entitled To In The UK?

By Danielle Graves. Last Updated 16th February 2024. This is a guide on how to make a hit by a drunk driver claim. Within the UK, drink driving is considered against the law, and those that are caught driving under the influence could face severe repercussions. In most cases, those that are convicted of a drink-driving offence could face serious consequences, such as imprisonment, fines, and a ban from driving. If a drunk driver were to inflict a degree of injury or harm onto an innocent individual, then a claim for compensation could be brought against them, as they could be held accountable for the trauma they’ve caused.

Two drivers involved in an accident exchange drunk driver's details.

If you have been injured by the negligent actions of a drunk driver, then you might be searching for legal advice on how to make a drunk driver compensation claim. This guide has been created to help inform those that have been affected by negligence of the claims process and to outline the various ways our panel of solicitors could be of assistance. If you read this guide to the very end and have additional questions, why not contact a member of our team? Here at Legal Helpline, we could offer you advice on how to make a personal injury claim if you have been hit by a drunk driver and, if you have a credible claim, we can put you in touch with a specialist solicitor from our panel.

To get in touch with an adviser:

Jump To A Section

  1. What Is A Drink Driving Road Traffic Accident?
  2. Fatal Road Traffic Accidents Caused By Drink Driving
  3. Drunk Driving Accident – How Long Do I Have To Claim?
  4. Hit By A Drunk Driver Compensation Claims Calculator
  5. Steps To Take If Hit By A Drunk Driver
  6. I Was Hit By A Drunk Driver, Could A No Win No Fee Solicitor Help Me?
  7. Information On Road Traffic Accidents

What Is A Drink Driving Road Traffic Accident?

Under the Highway Code and the Road Traffic Act 1988, a person cannot drive or attempt to drive if they are unfit to do so due to alcohol. Alcohol can impair a driver’s judgement and abilities, which could result in them causing a drunk driving accident. Therefore, there is a strict drink driving limit in the UK. The limits in Scotland are different compared to the rest of the UK.

If you suffer an injury because of a drunk driver, you could be eligible to make a road traffic accident claim. However, you must be able to satisfy the personal injury claims eligibility requirements. This means that you must prove that:

  • You were owed a duty of care. 
  • This duty was breached. 
  • You suffered injuries because of this breach. 

We’ll look more at this duty of care and the laws that need to be adhered to while using the roads in the next section. Additionally, we’ll look at a few examples of accidents that could be caused by a drunk driver as well as how you could make your claim. 

Speak with an advisor from our team if you have any questions about what to do if you are hit by a drunk driver in the UK.

Drink drivers behind the wheel.

Can You Sue A Drunk Driver?

Rule 95 of the Highway Code states not to drink and drive. Being beyond the drink driving limit will seriously affect your judgement and abilities. Breaking it and driving while still drunk is considered a breach in the duty of care.

To be eligible for compensation, you must have evidence that proves your injuries were caused by another driver’s breach in the duty of care. This is known as driver negligence. We look at examples of evidence later in this guide.

If you want free advice about your question, ‘what should I do if a driver hit me from behind?’ call our advisors. They’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Claims For Hit And Run Drink Driving Crashes

If you are involved in a crash with a drunk driver, and the drunk driver leaves the scene of the accident without providing the details they are required to give, then this is considered a hit-and-run. This is a criminal offence. It may also prevent you from claiming against the offending driver’s insurance policy if they remain untraced. Alternatively, the drunk driver may be later found, but it could turn out that they are uninsured.

If you’re unable to claim against a policy provided to the liable party from an insurance company for a drunk driver accident, you could submit your claim to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). The MIB aims to compensate those affected by uninsured or untraced drivers. This could also include instances of a drink driving accident when the liable party is untraced or uninsured.

When making a claim through the MIB, you will still need to establish that another driver caused your injuries by breaching the duty of care they owed you.

Contact our advisors today to receive free advice for your potential claim.

A woman driving with a bottle of beer in her hand.

Fatal Road Traffic Accidents Caused By Drink Driving

According to the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934, the deceased’s estate can make a claim for compensation for the pain and suffering of the deceased, as well as for the financial losses caused by their passing. 

The estate can also bring forward a claim on behalf of the deceased’s dependents. For the first six months following the death, only the deceased’s estate can bring forward a claim.

If a claim isn’t made during this time, then the dependents can start their own proceedings. This is set out under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (FAA).

Dependents are defined as:

  • Children, stepchildren or someone treated as a child by the deceased, including stepchildren from a previous marriage.
  • Mother or father, stepparent or a person treated as a parent by the deceased.
  • A current or former spouse or civil partner or someone who lived with the deceased for two years prior to their death as if they were a spouse.
  • The deceased’s siblings, uncle or aunt, or cousins.

Drunk Driving Accident – How Long Do I Have To Claim?

The general time limit to start a road traffic accident claim is 3 years from the date of the incident, but there are situations that allow for this time limit to be extended or suspended.

For example, if you had only become aware of your injuries from the drunk driving accident at a later date, then as per the Limitation Act 1980, either the date you receive your medical diagnosis or the date you became aware of these injuries could act as your date of knowledge. This can be used as the start of the time limit.

A person under the age of 18 is unable to start a personal injury claim themselves. For this reason, the time limit is suspended until they turn 18. A claim can be started on their behalf by a litigation friend during this time.

If a person has limited mental capacity and is injured by a drunk driver, their time limit can also be suspended. This will be suspended indefinitely or until they regain their mental capability. The date they regain their ability is when their 3-year time limit will resume. A litigation friend can be appointed to start their claim at any point during this period.

Our advisers could give you more information about matters relating to claims for drink driving accidents. Please reach out now for a free consultation.

Car keys in front of a glass of white wine.

Hit By A Drunk Driver Compensation Claims Calculator

Those that pursue a claim for compensation might question how much compensation they could be entitled to. A settlement package may consist of two heads of claim: special damages and general damages. General damages are designed to compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity inflicted by the injury.  The value of general damages is determined by the severity of the injuries. To give you an idea of how much compensation you could be entitled to, we’ve put together this personal injury claims calculator.

InjuryThe Severity of the InjuryCompensation AwardedInjury Description
Multiple serious injuries plus special damagesSeriousUp to £1,000,000+If you've sustained multiple serious injuries, then your compensation payout may cover all of these as well as any special damages, such as the cost of home care.
Brain DamageVery Severe£282,010 to £403,990Injuries covered under this bracket mean there will be little (if any) evidence of meaningful response to the environment by the victim. They will also require full-time nursing care.
Brain DamageModerately Severe£219,070 to £282,010The injured party will be very seriously disabled and will require constant professional care.
ParaplegiaSevere£219,070 to
Severe cases of paraplegia are expected to cause a loss of independence, life expectancy, sexual function, and a perchance of pain will prevail. The amount of compensation awarded will take into consideration a degree of risk, such as syringomelia.
ArmSevere£96,160 to £130,930An arm injury falling short of needing to be amputated but has left the person little better off than if it had.
ScarringVery Severe£29,780 to £97,330

Severe scarring is expected to have a serious impact on the psychological well-being of the effected individual. The scarring is expected to leave disfiguring that isn’t fixable through cosmetic surgery.
Knee InjurySevere (i)£69,730 to £96,210A severe knee injury is when there has been a serious disruption of the joint, causing a development of osteoarthritis, ligament damage, pain and suffering. The affected individual will require length treatment.
LegSevere (ii) Very Serious£54,830 to £87,890Leg injuries that lead to permanent mobility issues with the person requiring mobility aids for the remainder of their life.
Whiplash Tariff£4,345The claimant has suffered whiplash with a psychological injury with symptoms lasting 18-24 months.
Whiplash Tariff£4,215The claimant has suffered whiplash with symptoms lasting 18-24 months.

The figures within the table (apart from the first entry and the final two entries) are based on the Judicial College Guidelines, a legal publication used by solicitors and the courts to value claims. However, it is worth remembering that these figures are for example purposes only, and the compensation you could be entitled to may differ.

Whiplash Reform Programme

The Whiplash Reform Programme changed how low-value car accident claims and claims involving other kinds of vehicles are made. Adult drivers or passengers claiming compensation for injuries valued at £5,000 or less will make it in a different way to a traditional personal injury claim. This applies to accidents that occurred on or after the 31st May 2021.

The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 include tariff amounts for whiplash injuries. The tariff amounts apply regardless of how you claim. Similarly, non-whiplash injuries will still be valued in accordance with the compensation brackets found in the JCG whatever route you use to claim. We’ve included tariff amounts and compensation brackets from the JCG in our table.

For advice on how to claim and a free valuation of your case, please call our advisors.

Special Damages If Injured By A Drunk Driver

Alongside general damages, those that have been affected by the negligent actions of a drunk driver may also be awarded special damages.  The purpose of special damages is to compensate you for any financial losses or expenses that may have been incurred as a direct result of the injury. Some of the types of expenses and losses you can claim for include: :

  • The loss of future earnings
  • The loss of earnings
  • The cost of medical expenses
  • Travel expenses 

If you have suffered a financial loss that hasn’t been listed above, please do not worry. Simply contact a member of our team. One of our knowledgeable advisers can discuss your potential claim in greater detail and provide you with free legal advice.

Personal injury compensation illustrated with a toy car on a calculator.

Steps To Take If Hit By A Drunk Driver

In the unfortunate event you are involved in an accident that has been caused by a drunk driver, you might question what steps you can take to rectify your situation. If a drunk driver has injured you, it is always advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You should also consider:

  • Collecting the contact information of all the individuals that were involved in the incident. This includes any drivers, passengers, and witnesses of the event.
  • Write down notes of the vehicle, such as its make, model, colour, licence plate, and any distinct markings that will help identify the car.
  • Take photographic or video evidence at the scene of the incident. This could include skid marks, tire marks, damage to your vehicle, or any various documentation that could support your claim.
  • Keep documentation of any financial expenditures you encounter after the incident, such as mechanic bills, medical expenses, repairs, travel costs.

If you are injured and are unable to collect this information yourself, you could ask a loved one to do it on your behalf. You may still have a claim even if the drunk driver left the site of the crash. They may also face a penalty for a hit and run in the UK as set out by Annex 5 of the Highway Code.

Other Evidence To Support Claims For Drunk Driving Accidents

If you would like to claim for injuries suffered in a drink driving crash, you will need to gather evidence. This needs to prove that another driver breached their duty of care, and you suffered injuries as a result.

Evidence that may be useful in claims for drunk driving accidents includes:

  • A copy of your medical records. This should state the nature of the injuries you suffered and the treatment required.
  • The police statement if the police attended the scene of the crash.
  • Video footage of the accident from a dashcam of CCTV.
  • Photographs of any visible injuries you suffered, such as cuts or bruises.

Please get in touch with one of our advisors to further discuss what evidence could help support personal injury claims against drunk drivers. They may also be able to connect you with one of the solicitors on our panel who could help you with gathering evidence.

An evidence folder on a keyboard to support drink driving claims.

I Was Hit By A Drunk Driver, Could A No Win No Fee Solicitor Help Me?

Drunk driving accidents causing injury can affect you in a number of ways, not only physically and mentally, but also on your finances. For example, you may have to pay for car repairs or for treatment for any injuries you sustain. Therefore, after suffering harm from a car accident involving drink driving, solicitors fees may pose a barrier after claiming with legal representation.

However, if you were injured as a result of a motorist drink driving, solicitors who work on a No Win No Fee basis could help you get a car accident claim payout without the need for any upfront fees. A solicitor may offer you a type of No Win No Fee contract known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. This typically means that you won’t have to pay them upfront or any ongoing fee.

If your claim is successful, your No Win No Fee solicitor deducts a legally capped success fee from your award. If your road traffic accident claim is not successful, however, you won’t be responsible for paying your solicitor for their work.

Drunk Driver Accident Claims – Contact Us For Support

If you suffered harm due to a drunk driver in the UK, you might be eligible for compensation. You can get in touch with our advisors for a free assessment of your drunk driver crash claim. If your claim seems valid, you could be connected to our panel of solicitors. To get in touch with an adviser:

A No Win No Fee lawyer discussing drink driving claims.

Information On Road Traffic Accidents

Within the following section, you will find relevant and additional materials that could be of use.

We hope this guide on making a hit by a drunk driver claim is helpful to you. For more information, get in touch at any time.

Guide by MN

Edited by REG