In a car accident, the individual who violated the law and negligently acted should cover the expenses brought about by the damages caused by the crash. Usually, the at-fault person’s insurance company pays the damages in such cases.

When a drunk driver hits a pedestrian, it is evident that that driver should be responsible for the injuries of the victim from the crash. But what happens if it’s the other way around? Can a drunk pedestrian cause a collision, and can they be liable for the damage expenses?

In this article, you will learn what happens in a traffic accident caused by a drunk pedestrian and what to do when involved in one.

How Intoxication Causes Traffic Incidents

Intoxication, particularly from alcohol or drugs, can dramatically impair an individual’s abilities. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol rapidly can result in substantial impairments in motor coordination, decision-making, impulse control, and various functions, elevating the likelihood of potential harm.

Alcohol also disrupts numerous other physiological functions, including:

  • Temperature regulation
  • Balance and coordination
  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Speech
  • Decision-making
  • Digestion
  • Reproductive health
  • Immune function

So, when driving while intoxicated, impaired judgment and distorted perception can lead to dangerous actions like reckless driving, lane weaving, and failing to heed traffic signals. Furthermore, drunk drivers often experience decreased motor skills, making it harder to retain reasonable control of the vehicle, which increases the risk of accidents and crashes. 

It is illegal to drive while intoxicated in some states in the United States. Despite this, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 31% of traffic crash fatalities in the country are attributed to drunk drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of 0.08 g/dL or higher. Moreover, over the ten years from 2012 to 2021, an annual average of approximately 10,850 people lost their lives in crashes involving drunk driving.

Is It Illegal For Pedestrians To Walk Under The Influence?

Similar to drunk driving, impaired walking can pose risks to road safety. Many states have regulations prohibiting public intoxication, although there are exceptions. Public drunkenness is typically classified as a misdemeanor, with sentences ranging from 30 to 60 days of imprisonment in most states. 

Public intoxication also leads to legal consequences. Depending on the state’s laws, fines usually vary from $1,000 and up. In some states, aggravated public intoxication is often treated as a third offense, carrying a potential maximum sentence of two years in jail. Consequences for such behavior may also include community service and a permanent record.

Common Symptoms Of Drunk Walkers

When driving along roads, it is essential to check the surroundings and be alert to avoid collisions. Usually, impaired pedestrians exhibit several symptoms of intoxication. Be aware of these and keep your distance once witnessed by an individual:

  • Swaying uncontrollably
  • Difficulty maintaining balance
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of inhibition
  • Red face or flush

It’s crucial to remember that each individual may experience different symptoms and that their degree of impairment may also vary. It is best to be cautious and, if needed, contact the local authorities if you suspect someone is walking while intoxicated to ensure road safety.

What Happens If A Drunk Pedestrian Causes A Traffic Accident?

There are several scenarios where a drunk pedestrian causes a traffic accident. A crash can happen if the impaired walker abruptly darts into the road or highway where they aren’t supposed to cross, or if you hit something else to avoid colliding with the pedestrian.

In both cases, the collisions result from the pedestrian’s intoxication, making them liable for the damages. This means that they should cover the expenses associated with the injuries and damages from the traffic accident.

However, in a pedestrian accident involving drunk walkers, you must prove that their violation was the root of the crash. Otherwise, you can’t hold them responsible for the damage expenses.

In a personal injury case, establishing liability involves four key elements:

  • Duty of Care: This legal obligation requires individuals to act in a manner that does not harm others.
  • Breach of Duty: It must be demonstrated that the person failed to act reasonably and prudently under similar circumstances. The standard for evaluating a breach is based on what a “reasonable person” would do.
  • Causation: There should be a clear link between the pedestrian accident and the individual’s breach of duty.
  • Damages: Ultimately, the breach of duty must have resulted in injuries or damages.

As such, you must have the necessary evidence to prove the drunk pedestrian’s liability or negligence. This is why it is best to gather proof at the accident scene, such as:

  • Photos of the crash: Photos of the accident can help authorities and lawyers determine what caused it and how it happened. 
  • Dash cam or surveillance footage: Footage from cameras within the area can show what the pedestrian was doing before the collision.
  • Witness testimonies and their contact details: Statements from witnesses who saw the pedestrian exhibit certain behaviors, such as slurred speech or shaky movements, can be highly beneficial when proving your case.
  • Police report: Police reports typically have essential evidence to help build your claims, such as statements from persons involved, officers’ observations, and the outcomes of any sobriety tests.

While you are entitled to seek compensation for injuries and other damages resulting from a car accident caused by a drunk pedestrian, navigating the process may not be straightforward. 

Let’s say an impaired walker abruptly ran into your path while traveling in Carlsbad, and you had no choice but to hit a wall nearby. Unfortunately, the crash led to significant head injuries. How can you prove your car accident claim if you didn’t have contact with the drunk pedestrian?

In such situations, legal assistance from a Carlsbad accident attorney becomes crucial. A skilled attorney can use their expertise and resources to collect evidence and justify the drunk pedestrian’s negligence. They will analyze the circumstances of the accident, assess the overall damages, and vigorously advocate for your right to fair compensation.

Remember that drivers and pedestrians have the same responsibility of ensuring the safety of everyone on the road. So, if one causes a traffic accident, they should be responsible for the damages from the crash. While it is possible to file a case against a pedestrian, it can be challenging to prove, especially if you have limited evidence to justify your case. A personal injury lawyer has the experience and expertise to defend such claims and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.