Is Drunk Driving a Tort?

Insurance claims for an injury or illness are paid through the insurance policy of the person or entity at fault. However, insurance doesn’t always cover a personal injury claim. This may be the cause if the person at fault has committed a tort.

A tort is another name for a personal injury, and it can be divided into three main groups: negligence, intentional torts, and stick or absolute liability. Since drunk driving is an act of negligence, this criminal offense is classified as a tort.


Negligence is the most common tort. It is the act of doing something that a prudent or clear-minded person wouldn’t do, or a failure to do something a logical person would do. Negligence is also classified as the failure to use reasonable care or solutions in a specific situation. Negligence claims can be based on actions such as:

  • Wrongful death
  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Premises liability
  • Product liability

Drunk driving can lead to any of these outcomes. If a person is driving intoxicated, they could injure someone who is driving another car or riding a bike or motorcycle. Unfortunately, a drunk driver can also kill a pedestrian or another driver. In this case, the family of the victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Intentional Torts

An intentional tort is the purposeful or malicious infliction of harm on a person that can result in injury or death. This is why most intentional torts are classified as criminal offenses. Drunk driving falls into this category. Most inebriated individuals aren’t trying to injure or kill anyone. However, their actions are criminal because they are making decisions that a clear-minded person wouldn’t make.

People have the choice to attend a party or event with a designated driver or to arrange to get a ride home. Therefore, if a drunk person chooses to get behind the wheel, they are putting themselves at risk for committing a crime.

How to Prove Negligence in Drunk Driving Cases

If you were injured in a car wreck that was caused by a drunk driver, you are likely upset, shocked, and looking for ample compensation. This is very understandable, since drunk drivers can cause significant harm, and the injuries you sustain could have long-term effects.

Filing a claim will make it easier for you to get the financial award you deserve for your pain and suffering and/or to repair/replace your vehicle. When you file a claim, you’ll have to prove negligence on the part of the driver. This includes:

  • Duty, or the notion that the driver should have carried out their duty of operating their vehicle in a safe manner
  • Breach of duty, which is the proof that the driver did not carry out the obligation to operate their vehicle safely
  • Causation, which is evidence that the drunk driver did indeed cause your injuries
  • Damages, which is proof that your vehicle was damaged or you were injured in the drunk driving accident and need compensation for property damage, lost income, and medical bills

You’ll also have to prove absolute or strict liability in your case. This means you have to submit evidence in court indicating that the defendant is liable for injuring you, whether they meant to do so or not. Again, the drunk driver’s intent may not have been to hurt you, but they did intentionally get behind the wheel.

If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, it’s best to get legal assistance as soon as you can. You can visit for more information about your case and your rights under the law.


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