What Happens When a Pedestrian is Injured by a Drunk Driver?

Nearly 5,000 pedestrians are killed every year in traffic accidents, and in 2012, roughly 76,000 were injured in auto accidents. Unfortunately, these pedestrians are often the victims of drunk driving crashes. Alcohol impairs a driver’s cognitive and motor skills, coordination and reaction time, which can be catastrophic behind the wheel. So what happens if a pedestrian is hit by a drunk driver?


Drunk driving is considered an inherently negligent activity. Not only is it illegal, meaning those who do it can face criminal charges, but drunk driving is negligence. If a driver is under the influence, he has already breached the normal duty of care and is putting lives at risk. That means that he can be held liable for any injuries caused by his drunk driving.

Civil or Criminal?

Because drunk driving is an illegal activity, a drunk driver who hits a pedestrian will almost certainly face criminal charges for the offense. These charges, however, are completely separate from a civil case. The injured pedestrian will need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver in order to receive compensation for their injuries.

What Compensation can the Injured Pedestrian Receive?

The amount of compensation for injuries related to a drunk driving accident depends on several factors. Damages will be calculated based on the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, out of pocket expenses, and other applicable expenses. Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages will also be a factor.

Who Pays for the Pedestrian’s Damages?

The drunk driver’s insurance policy is an important factor in the injured pedestrian’s claim. Unless the driver has a lot of money or assets available, the damages will have to be paid by their insurance company. If the victim wins compensation that exceeds the drunk driver’s policy limit, the driver will be on the hook for the remainder of the damages. However, collecting that compensation can prove difficult if the driver does not have the money to pay it.

“If you have been injured by a drunk driver, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an auto accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, El Centro, and Yucca Valley, and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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