How Fault Must Be Determined In A DWI Accident Case

If you have been taken to court by another driver that might have been injured in an accident that you were involved in and you are being accused of driving while intoxicated or DWI, you might feel that all hope is lost. However, even if you were found to be intoxicated while you were operating a vehicle, you will not necessarily be at fault for the accident. In many states, three different factors need to be proven by the person that is suing you in order to make it definite that you were at fault. 

1. Duty to Drive Safely and Breach of this Duty

The first thing that the plaintiff must prove is that he or she fulfilled his or her duty of driving safely on the road and that you did not fulfill this duty. You are not at fault for the accident if you were staying in your lane and driving right around the speed limit and another person hits you, even if you are intoxicated in this scenario. The plaintiff will need to show that you were going faster than the speed limit or some other indicator of unsafe driving to prove that you did not fulfill your part of the social contract. He or she will also need to prove that he or she was also driving safely, staying in his or her lane, and not going too quickly.

2. Causation

A second factor that the plaintiff must prove is that your failure to obey traffic laws was the reason why the accident occurred. For example, you are not necessarily at fault if you were driving over the speed limit and some point, stopped suddenly at a traffic light, and then had someone rear end you. You were not necessarily breaking any traffic laws and the accident might not have occurred if the person who rear ended you had left enough space between your vehicles. The plaintiff will need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the fact you were driving over the speed limit was the reason why an accident occurred.

3. Injury and Damages

Finally, the plaintiff will have to prove that his or her car was damaged and that he or she sustained injuries as a result of the accident. This is the easiest part to prove.

If the plaintiff isn't able to prove one of these three factors, then you will not be found at fault. For more information, talk to your DWI lawyer.