hit by drunk driver claim

Hit By Drunk Driver: Claim Compensation For Injury Caused By Drink Driving / Drugs

Being hit by a drunk driver (or a driver on drugs) can cause havoc to your life – both physically and financially.

In this article we discuss how to claim compensation if you are a road user hit by an intoxicated driver (from alcohol, drugs or medications). We set out who can claim and describe the immediate steps you should take following an accident.

We look at answers to real-life drink driver accident questions.

What is a drink driver injury claim?

If a person in control of a motor vehicle as a result of intoxicated with alcohol or drugs collides with collides with a vehicle, pedestrian or other road user leading to injury – you will likely be entitled to claim for compensation.

Criminal Offence If A Driver Is Unfit To Drive Dur To Drink Or Drugs
Section 4. Road traffic Act 1988 states that a person is:
Guilty of a criminal offence if they are unfit to drive through drink or drugs when driving or attempting to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place.

Compensation will include money for your pain and suffering coupled with compensation for your financial loss and expense, including vehicle damage, lost income, etc.

A claim can be made even when:

  1. The drunk driver had no motor insurance.
  2. The driver made off without leaving details (hit and run).
  3. The vehicle involved in the accident was stolen.
  4. The driver had legitimate insurance, but the motor insurer voids the policy.
  5. You are a passenger in the drunk driver’s vehicle.
  6. A company car or other works vehicle caused the accident.
The Drunk Driver Must Be At Fault
The fact that a driver was drunk does not in and of itself win a claim.
The drunk driver must have been at fault for the accident. In other words – the road accident must be caused by the failure of the drunk driver to control a motor vehicle correctly due to an inebriated state.
In the unlikely situation that another driver hit a drunk driver. It would be the other driver that was at fault not the drunk driver.

What should you do if you are hit by a drunk driver?

If you are hit by a drunk driver or a suspected drunk driver you should always:

Notify the police immediately

The police will breathalyse the drunk driver. If the accident caused injury to another road user the police will likely produce a police accident report.

Drunk Driver Hit And Run
Police involvement is essential if the driver made off without exchanging details.
You will not be able to claim compensation for a drink driver hit and run without police involvement.
We explain later in this article how the Motor Insurers’ Bureau can meet your compensation claim following a hit and run..

Call an ambulance

If you are injured – you should call an ambulance immediately. Your injuries may be worse than you imagine – especially as shock can mask your initial symptoms.

Exchange details with the drunk driver

Exchange of details might not be possible with a drunk driver.

However, at the very least you should take the registration number. A photo of the vehicle and the registration number can prove invaluable to your future claim.

Get witness details

No matter what the drunk driver says at the scene – get the names and numbers of any witnesses (especially independent witnesses).

Many drivers may say “it is my fault”. Yet later to their insurers or the police give a whole different version of events.

Gathering witness evidence is the only sure fire way to keep people honest and prove your claim should a dispute arise.

The Driver Who Admits Fault At The Accident Scene
Beware the driver admits at the scene it is their fault and doesn’t want to involve the insurers or the authorities.
Such drivers may not be insured and may have no intention of paying you compensation.
Alternatively – even when insured they may change their mind in the knowledge no evidence was gathered.
You may be left empty handed and unable to prove what happened.

Notify your motor insurer

Whether you intend to claim from your own motor insurance or not – your policy will typically require you to notify your motor insurer as soon as possible.

Other steps you should take

See our detailed article setting out the steps you should take immediately following a road accident.

What types of road users hit by drunk drivers can claim compensation?

Drunk drivers can cause injury to many types of road user – all of whom should be able to make a claim.

For example:

Pedestrians hit by drunk drivers

Drunk drivers will often fail to heed the presence of pedestrians. The pedestrian may be hit whilst using a pedestrian crossing or even whilst on the pavement. It is not unknown that a drunk driver will lose control, mount a pavement and hit pedestrians.


Pedal cyclists are relatively slow moving and vulnerable road users whose presence on the road may often be missed by a drunk driver/

Car drivers and their passengers hit by a drunk driver

Car drivers are the most common of road users.

A collision by a drunk driver with another car driving or parked on the road is the most common form a drink driving accident.


Motorcyclists are smaller road users, but equally as fast as other motorised vehicles.

Unfortunately, when a motorcyclist is hit by a drunk driver – there will typically be serious injury.

Bus and coach passengers

Buses and coaches carry a number of unsuspecting passengers.

When a drunk driver collides unexpectedly at high speed with a bus or coach – passengers will be thrown around and suffer multiple types of injury.

Mobility vehicles

Mobility vehicles are smaller, often open and far more vulnerable than other types of vehicle. When hit by a drunk driver – serous injury can be caused to already disabled people.

Horse riders

Horse riders are typically found on quieter country lanes. A drunk driver coming into contact with horse riders can wreak havoc and lead to various types of injury.

Large vehicle

Lorries, trucks, vans and other large vehicle may be hit by drunk drivers. Normally the occupants of these types of vehicle driver are more protected.

Still injury can be caused especially when a drunk driver is in control of a large work vehicle, such as a delivery vehicle.

Can a passenger in a drunk driver’s vehicle claim for injury?

Whether a passenger can claim for injury depends on a number of circumstances.

Knowing that the driver was drunk

A passenger that knowingly gets into a vehicle with a drunk driver (or suspecting the driver was over the limit) runs the risk that any potential injury claim may be reduced (contributory negligence).

A passenger may themselves be drunk or may have encouraged the driver to drive whilst drunk. Here there is a risk that their claim could be negated.

Innocent to the fact the driver was drunk

Sometimes a passenger may accept a lift not realising the driver is drunk. It might be that on realisation the driver continues to driver and refuses to stop, so the passenger cannot exit the vehicle.

In such instances – it is likely that the passenger will be able to claim full compensation for injury.

Will a drunk driver’s motor insurer pay you compensation?

Your claim for compensation will be made against the drunk driver. However, the motor insurer is an indemnifier for the liability of their insured.

The s151 Road Traffic Act 1988 also requires an insurer to meet a court judgment made against any driver of the vehicle – whether they were included in the insurance policy or not.

In other words – the motor insurer of the drunk driver or of the car itself will pay you compensation for injuries suffered as a result of a drunk driver’s negligence.

Motor insurance voided

It is very likely that the terms of any motor policy is that the driver must not be over the legal driving limit for alcohol.

Should a driver be found over the limit (or in some instances fail to give a specimen to the police for testing) – the motor insurer will often try to void the policy.

Even If The Motor Insurance Policy Is Voided You Can Claim
Don’t worry – even if the motor insurer voids the drunk driver’s policy – the insurer is required by law to pay you compensation if you are injured.
So make your claim using a solicitor as the motor insurer of the vehicle will have to pay one way or the other.
The insurer may well attempt to recover any monies they have had to incur from their insured driver, but that is not your problem.

No motor insurance

Driving without insurance is a criminal offence. However, even if the driver was not insured or there was no insurance on the motor policy – a body known as the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) will have to meet the claim as though the driver was insured.

Your claim is made under the MIB Uninsured Drivers’ Agreement. However, there is a restriction for passengers making a claim if they knew the vehicle was being driven for the purpose of a crime.

Drunk driver hit and run

You can still claim even if you did not get the registration number of the vehicle. Again, the claim is made from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau under the Untraced Drivers Agreement.

You Must Involve The Police Immediately
You must have involved the police immediately, so that they can confirm to the MIB that the accident happened as you describe.
The police can also check local CCTV and gather evidence to see if the driver and the registration number can be found.

Stolen vehicle used in accident

Should the drunk driver be using a stolen vehicle you can still claim compensation.

For example – you might be able to claim from:

  1. The true owner’s motor insurer.
  2. The Motor Insurers Bureau if no valid insurance can be found.

Using a company car or other work vehicle

If the drunk driver was in a work vehicle it should not have an impact on your ability to claim. There will still be motor insurance in place and if not the MIB could step in to meet your compensation.

You may have an addition party to claim against – the employer of the driver who caused your accident.

Can a drunk driver claim compensation for injury?

“No” – if you are the drunk driver who caused the road accident, you will not be able to claim compensation for your injuries.

In the UK – we operate a fault-based system. You can only claim from the person-at-fault (or the respective motor insurer). That person cannot be yourself.

What If The Drunk Driver Was Not At Fault?
Imagine that you were in charge of car whilst drunk and another vehicle hit your car. Here the accident was the other driver’s fault.
Although, there may be criminal consequences to you for being in charge of a motor vehicle whilst intoxicated, However, in theory you could claim for your injuries and your vehicle damage from the driver-at-fault.

Take advantage of our free online and telephone legal help.

Should you be injured by a drunk driver – you can call direct to our solicitors to discuss your accident and ask any questions you may have. Further we provide online help and claim assessments.

Q&A – Driving Whilst Intoxicated With Drink, Drugs. Medication

In this section we look at real-life questions from road accident victims injured by drivers intoxicated by alcohol and drugs.

Question – Hit by an uninsured drunk driver whilst parked in our car

I was parked outside of my house with my wife as a front seat passenger. My two children aged 10 and 5 were rear seat passengers. We had just pulled up and were chatting before getting out of the car.

drink driver car accident claim
Drink Driver Car Accident Claim

All of a sudden out of nowhere our car was violently thrown forwards. I looked up to see a car careering down the road, hit another car and then disappear around the corner.

My wife and children were in pain, so I called an ambulance and the police. The police arrived first and explained that they had already caught the driver who was drunk. We later found out that he had borrowed his friend’s car without permission and was therefore not insured to drive the vehicle.

My wife, children and I were taken to hospital. Both of my children were diagnosed with lower back pain due to an injury to the lumbar spine. My wife had a cracked vertebra in her neck and cervical spine and I was diagnosed with a broken arm.

My car is a write-off, but I was only insured third party fire and theft.

Is it possible to claim compensation for my vehicle damage and the injuries to myself and my family as the driver was not insured?

ANSWER – Road Accident Solicitor Response

Drunk drivers will often flee the scene without leaving any details. Unfortunately, it is all too common that the driver is not insured.

Claim from the motor insurance of the car owner

When you are hit by a motor vehicle – you will be are entitled to claim compensation. Your claim will include compensation for you and your family;s pain and suffering – plus vehicle damage and other types of financial loss.

Any claim should be settled by the motor insurer of the legitimate car owner (even though it appears the owner was not the drunk driver).

Alternatively, if there was no insurance on the vehicle – a claim could be considered via the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB).

Motor Insurers’ Bureau Claims

The Motor Insurers Bureau has two schemes for payment in road accidents.

  1. Uninsured driver’s scheme – paying compensation when a driver was not insured (there was no motor insurance on the vehicle).
  2. Untraced driver;s scheme – compensation when the driver leaves the scene without providing details (or provides false details). The registration number was not recorded or a false plate was used.
Choosing the right solicitor to help with your claim

When involved in a drunk driver car accident – it is extremely important that you select the correct specialist road accident solicitor to contact to make your claim.

Dealing with the MIB is not a straightforward process.

Legal Protection
You should first check if you have legal protection cover on your motor policy.
Calculate the amount of compensation you can claim

Calculating compensation payouts largely depends upon the severity of the injuries as verified by an independent medical expert.

Some changes in the law on 31 May 2021 apply to whiplash type injuries for adults. However, largely these do not apply to children or injuries you have described.

Your solicitor will select an appropriate expert and arrange for your GP and hospital notes to be provided together with an examination of you and your family.

See our detailed compensation claim calculator for all manner of road accident injuries.

Question – Driver on drugs causes accident with cyclist on a one-way street

Find out how you can claim compensation money for injuries in a cycle accident on the UK roads with a driver who is unfit to drive dur to drug intoxication. We discuss claiming when there is no motor insurance. Injuries include: fracture injuries to the leg and arm; head injuries, scarring, tongue injury and post traumatic stress.

drug car driver cyclist accident claim
Drug Car Driver Cyclist Accident Claim

Cycle accident description

My husband was cycling along a one way street in Chester on his bicycle in the evening when he was hit by a car driver high on drugs.

The car was coming down the one-way street at speed in the wrong direction.

My husband’s bicycle had lights on and he was wearing visible reflective clothing.

He was in hospital for one month having suffered a serious fracture to the tibia and fibula in his left leg, a fractured radius in his right arm, head injuries and a deep bite in his tongue.

Since the accident he has withdrawn a lot from his family and friends and at night relives the accident events.

Our sex life is now non-existent.

The drunk driver is being prosecuted by the police for being unfit to drive whilst under the influence of drugs, dangerous driving and driving without insurance.

Can my husband claim compensation for all his injuries from the driver despite the fact that he did not have a policy of motor insurance?

ANSWER – Bicycle accident solicitor response

From the facts as you have presented it seems clear the drug intoxicated driver was at fault for causing the accident.

Criminal prosecution supports a personal injury claim

This is borne out by the fact that the police are prosecuting him.

The fact that the driver is being prosecuted for not being insured will not prevent a claim.

Finding the correct motor insurer / claiming via the MIB

The Motor Insurers Bureau, known by the acronym MIB, will act as though it was the insurer of the driver to meet your compensation claim. However,your solicitor must prove that the uninsured driver was at fault.

Alternatively, it may be the case that a motor insurer can be found to meet the claim without the MIB’s involvement.

For example – if the the car was legitimately insured by (for example – the driver’s partner), but the driver was not named., Hence, whey there appears to be no insurance.

Calculating compensation payout for serious cyclist injuries

Your husband has suffered many serious injuries – including: fractures to his left leg and right arm, head injuries and tongue injuries.

In addition – his psychological symptoms could be an indication of post traumatic stress disorder. This is a severe psychological response to a traumatic event.

A specialist solicitor will need an independent medical report from various different experts including:

  1. An orthopaedic surgeon – to describe the fractures to the tibia, fibula and right arm.
  2. A neurosurgeon – for a description of the head injuries. Including any brain damage and concessional symptoms
  3. An ENT – for a description of the injuries to the tongue.
  4. A plastic surgeon – if there are any scarring injuries.
  5. A clinical psychologist – for a description of the PTSD or similar condition.

Based upon all this medical evidence – your claim will be quantified based on the amount of compensation all of the various injuries can attract.

In addition ,financial losses – such as lost income and medical expenses, will be included in your claim

Examples Of Compensation Payouts
To see examples of the amount of compensation your can claim for all the various injuries – click on the body type as follows: leg injury compensation, arm injury claim, head injury amounts, scarring compensation claim, PTSD claim.
Claim Against A Driver Under The Influence Of Drugs Using A Solicitor

Cyclist claims against driver’s intoxicated by drugs can be complicated. We recommend talking to our specialist solicitors free of charge to know how best to proceed with your claim.