Can I Sue a Drunk Driver Who Hit Me in Connecticut?

Can I Sue a Drunk Driver Who Hit Me in Connecticut?

Drunk driving poses a significant threat to public safety in Connecticut, endangering the lives of countless innocent individuals. The consequences of drunk driving accidents can cause severe injuries, property damage, and devastating emotional trauma.

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one due to an accident a drunk driver caused, you may wonder, “Can I sue a drunk driver who hit me in Connecticut?”

The quick answer is yes, you probably can. However, you need a lawyer who understands the personal injury claims process in Connecticut and let them protect you and your legal rights.

Reach out to a Connecticut drunk driving accident attorney near you for a free case evaluation and advice regarding your rights and options to seek compensation from the at-fault party.

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Understanding Connecticut Drunk Driving Accidents

Definition of Drunk Driving

Drunk driving, also known as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), refers to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit set by the state.

Connecticut considers a person legally drunk if their BAC reaches 0.08% or higher for drivers 21 years and older, 0.04% for commercial drivers, and 0.02% for drivers under 21 (Connecticut General Statutes § 14-227a).

Driving under the influence of alcohol impairs a person's judgment, reaction time, coordination, and ability to operate a vehicle safely. Drunk drivers pose a significant risk to themselves, their passengers, and other road users, often resulting in severe accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

Statistics on Drunk Driving Accidents in Connecticut

Drunk driving accidents are a serious problem in Connecticut.

According to the Connecticut Crash Data Repository:

  • There were 1,681 alcohol-related crashes in Connecticut in a recent year, accounting for 4.8% of all crashes in the state.
  • These accidents resulted in 84 fatalities and 871 injuries.
  • Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 37% of all traffic deaths in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation reports that over a recent four-year period:

  • The state saw about 115 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per year.
  • Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities made up 38% of all traffic fatalities during this period.

These statistics highlight the devastating impact of drunk driving on Connecticut's roads and the importance of holding drunk drivers accountable for their actions.

Common Injuries and Damages Resulting from Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving accidents often result in severe injuries and extensive damages due to the impaired driver's inability to react quickly, maintain control of the vehicle, and avoid collisions.

Some common injuries and damages include:

  • Head and brain injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), concussions, skull fractures, and lacerations.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Partial or complete paralysis, herniated discs, and nerve damage.
  • Broken bones: Fractures to the arms, legs, ribs, pelvis, and other bones.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Whiplash, sprains, strains, and tears to muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Internal organ damage: Injuries to the lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, and other organs.
  • Disfigurement and scarring: Permanent physical scars and disfigurement from lacerations, burns, or surgical procedures.
  • Emotional distress: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other psychological trauma.
  • Property damage: Damage to vehicles, personal belongings, and other property involved in the accident.

The severity and extent of injuries and damages can vary depending on factors such as the speed of the vehicles, the point of impact, and whether the victims were wearing seat belts or helmets.

In some cases, the consequences of a drunk driving accident can be life-altering or even fatal, emphasizing the need for victims to seek legal assistance to protect their rights and pursue fair compensation.

Connecticut Laws on Drunk Driving

Connecticut has strict laws and penalties for drunk driving offenses. The penalties for a first-time offender with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.16% include a fine of $500 to $1,000, up to six months in jail, and a license suspension of 45 days.

Penalties increase for higher BAC levels and repeat offenders.

Additionally, Connecticut has Dram Shop laws, which hold establishments that serve alcohol liable for damages caused by intoxicated patrons. Social host liability laws also hold individuals who provide alcohol to minors or visibly intoxicated guests accountable for any damages they cause.

Keep in mind that you can still pursue a civil action against the drunk driver to recover damages whether they are ever arrested or convicted of DUI. However, an arrest or conviction could certainly help your case as your lawyer could use that as evidence of the driver’s negligence.

Suing a Drunk Driver in Connecticut

To successfully sue a drunk driver, you need to work with an attorney who can establish liability, prove negligence, and demonstrate the extent of your damages.

Establishing Liability

Establishing liability means proving that the drunk driver was responsible for causing the accident and your resulting injuries and damages. To do this, you will need to gather evidence that shows the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

Some key pieces of evidence that can help establish liability include:

  • Police reports: The official accident report created by the responding police officers can provide crucial information about the drunk driver's condition, BAC test results, and any citations or arrests made at the scene.
  • Witness statements: Testimony from eyewitnesses who saw the drunk driver's behavior before, during, or after the accident can help support your case.
  • Video footage: If the accident or the driver's actions were captured on camera, such as by traffic cameras, dashboard cameras, or surveillance cameras, this footage can be valuable evidence.
  • Expert testimony: Accident reconstruction experts, toxicologists, and other professionals can provide expert opinions on the drunk driver's impairment and how it contributed to the accident.

Proving Negligence

In addition to establishing liability, you must also prove that the drunk driver's actions constituted negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to others.

In the context of drunk driving, negligence can be demonstrated by showing that the driver:

  1. Operated a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
  2. Breached their duty of care to other road users
  3. Caused the accident and your injuries as a result of their impaired driving

Driving with a BAC above the legal limit is a clear example of negligence, as it violates Connecticut's drunk driving laws and puts others at risk.

Types of Damages You Can Recover

If you successfully sue a drunk driver in Connecticut, you may be entitled to recover various types of damages, including:

Economic damages: These are quantifiable financial losses, such as:

  • Medical expenses (past and future)
  • Lost wages and earning capacity
  • Property damage (vehicle repair or replacement)

Non-economic damages: These losses are more difficult to quantify, such as:

  •  Pain and suffering
  •  Emotional distress
  •  Loss of enjoyment of life
  •  Loss of consortium (harm to relationships with family members)

Punitive damages: In some cases, the court may award punitive damages to punish the drunk driver for their egregious behavior and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. Punitive damages address particularly reckless or malicious actions.

To maximize your chances of recovering fair compensation, keep detailed records of all expenses and losses related to the accident, and work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and build a strong case against the drunk driver.

The Role of Insurance Companies

After a drunk driving accident, victims will likely have to deal with the drunk driver's insurance company.

Insurance companies are primarily concerned with protecting their own interests and minimizing payouts. Victims should not communicate with insurance adjusters and refrain from accepting any settlement offers without consulting a personal injury attorney.

Additionally, having adequate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can provide protection in cases where the drunk driver lacks insurance.

Steps to Take After a Drunk Driving Accident

After a drunk driving accident in Connecticut, take certain steps to protect your health, safety, and legal rights. Here are the key actions you should take in the aftermath of the accident:

Seek Medical Attention

Your top priority after a drunk driving accident should be your health and well-being. Even if you don't feel hurt, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries, such as concussions or internal bleeding, may not immediately appear.

Promptly getting a medical evaluation can:

  • Diagnose and treat any injuries
  • Prevent potential complications
  • Create a record of your injuries, which can be valuable evidence in your legal case

Follow your doctor's advice and attend all follow-up appointments to ensure proper recovery and document your treatment.

Report the Accident to the Police

Call 911 immediately after the accident and wait for the police to arrive at the scene.

The responding officers will:

  1. Secure the scene and ensure everyone's safety
  2. Investigate the accident and determine if alcohol was involved
  3. Administer field sobriety tests or BAC tests to the suspected drunk driver
  4. Create an official police report documenting their findings

The police report can be a crucial piece of evidence in establishing the drunk driver's liability and supporting your legal case.

Gather Evidence and Witness Statements

Collect as much evidence as possible at the accident scene.

This may include:

  • Photos of the damage to the vehicles, skid marks, traffic signs, and the surrounding area
  • Photos of your visible injuries
  • Contact information for any eyewitnesses who saw the accident
  • The drunk driver's name, contact information, insurance details, and license plate number

Note any security or traffic cameras in the area so that your attorney can request footage later.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Once you have taken care of your immediate health and safety needs, contact an experienced drunk-driving accident attorney as soon as possible.

An attorney can:

  • Explain your legal rights and options
  • Investigate the accident and gather additional evidence
  • Handle communication with insurance companies and the at-fault party
  • Negotiate a fair settlement or represent you in court if necessary

Don't wait too long to seek legal assistance. You must ensure your attorney has enough time to investigate your case and collect the necessary evidence to support your claim. They must also file your claim within any applicable deadlines.

By taking these steps after a drunk driving accident, you can protect your health, gather crucial evidence, and lay the foundation for a strong legal case to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Contact an Experienced Connecticut Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Right Away

Being hit by a drunk driver in Connecticut can cause life-altering physical, emotional, and financial hardships. A lawyer can explain your legal rights and take action to hold the drunk driver accountable for their reckless behavior.

By seeking the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney, you can navigate the legal process effectively and work towards obtaining the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident in Connecticut, do not hesitate to contact The Flood Law Firm LLC for a free consultation.

Our dedicated team of attorneys has extensive experience in handling drunk driving accident cases and is committed to fighting for the rights of victims.

We understand the challenges you face and will work tirelessly to help you seek justice and secure the compensation you need to move forward with your life.

Brian Flood


Brian has dedicated his entire legal career to helping accident victims. By choice, he has never represented the interests of an insurance company.

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