How to Prove You Are Not At Fault in a Car Accident?
At The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C., we hold drunk drivers accountable. Let us help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation for your claim.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the leading causes of auto accidents every year. However, drunk driving is not the only cause for concern. Some people drive under the influence of illegal drugs, while others drive while high on recreational drugs, like Marijuana. According to a recent study, the number the drivers who died from road accidents and also had traces of drugs in their blood increased by 40% in the last decade.
Before a victim is able to recover compensation, it must be first proven that the other driver was, in fact, intoxicated or under the influence of drugs while driving.
Missouri Drugged Driving Laws
Missouri law states that,
A person commits the offense of driving while intoxicated if he or she operates a vehicle while in an intoxicated condition.
So, if a person is driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a drug, a controlled substance, or any combination of the three, he or she is considered to be in an “intoxicated condition.” Therefore, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs.
There is no “legal limit” in Missouri. So any amount of controlled substance or drug found in the blood while driving is prohibited. Also, a person cannot claim that they were legally entitled to use the controlled substance and thus justify driving while under the influence.
Proving Driver Intoxication
One of the most obvious signs that a person is intoxicated is by how they look and act. If you are involved in an auto accident, you should take note of the other driver’s appearance if you are able. Some of the signs that a person is intoxicated are:
- Red or watery eyes
- Slurred speech
- Stumbling or swaying when they walk or stand
- A difficulty with balancing or standing in one place
- Not able to concentrate or listen
- Smelling of alcohol
- Difficulty remaining conscious
If it’s possible, try and make clear notes, or ask someone else to, regarding your observations. Gather as much information about the other driver as you can. If there are witnesses, get their information so that they may be able to be contacted and they can corroborate your account.
Proving Drugged Driving
As with proving drunk driving, there are obvious signs when a person is under the influence of drugs. You can notice how the person acts or how they look. If you are involved in a car accident, you should take note of the other’s drivers appearance if you are able. Some of the signs that a person under the influence of drugs is:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Pupils larger or smaller than they should be
- Slurred speech
- Impaired coordination
- Irrational behavior
- Poor muscle control
If it is possible, try and make clear notes, or ask someone else to, regarding your observations. Gather as much information about the other driver as you can. If there are witnesses, get their information so that they may be able to be contacted and they can corroborate your account.
Police Reports and Test Results
When the police arrive upon the scene of a car accident, they will interview the drivers that were involved in the accident. An officer will typically be able to notice the signs of intoxication or drugged driving right away and may place the person under arrest. Evidence will be gathered to prove whether or not the person was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident.
A Breathalyzer test will likely be performed. In addition, a blood test may be done to check the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver. If it shows that the driver’s blood level is over the legal limit, this will be used as evidence of intoxication.
The police report is likely the most important document in a DUI or DWI conviction. It generally has enough information in it to justify the arrest and conviction of the driver.
Although the evidence in the police report is strong enough, the eyewitnesses at the scene of the car accident are still important. Different amounts of alcohol affect people in different ways. So, additional evidence may be needed to prove that the driver was actually impaired during the time of the accident.
For instance, if the driver was drinking at a nightclub or bar, your lawyer may interview the waitresses or bartenders to find out how much the driver had to drink. If an establishment won’t admit they served alcohol to someone who was drunk, credit card bills, receipts, and other documents can be used to prove how much the driver ordered.
Contact a St. Louis Auto Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one were hit by a drunk driver, contact our experienced car accident attorneys today. Let us help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation for your claim. While no amount of money will make things right, we can at least help you avoid further complications from your drunk driving accident.