Drunk Drivers are Dangerous to Pedestrians too

Dec 7, 2020 1:39 PM ET

iCrowdNewswire   Dec 7, 2020  8:39 AM ET

Drunk driving is a major problem across the country. Most often people think of the consequences on the road with other drivers, the impaired driver, and property damage. However, drunk or impaired drivers can pose a very significant threat to pedestrians too. There are countless cases of pedestrian fatalities at the hands of drunk drivers. Unlike those who may be involved in a multiple-vehicle crash or in a vehicle with a drunk driver, pedestrians have no physical protection. A human body colliding with a two-ton piece of metal potentially traveling at high speeds is a recipe for serious injuries or even death. Such crashes can result in both civil and criminal charges.

Criminal Charges

There are several criminal charges that can be brought against an impaired driver who hits a pedestrian. There are charges of the act of driving under the influence, hitting a pedestrian, and potentially causing death which would result in manslaughter charges. If they were to flee the scene after causing an accident and hitting someone, this would result in a further hit and run charge. Fleeing the scene of an accident would be an aggravating circumstance to the charges of the case.


A collision with a pedestrian will involve the police being called, especially if that collision results in injuries. In this event, the police will evaluate the scene and driver for evidence of drinking or impairment of other substances. This may include roadside sobriety tests, questions, or further questioning and testing after an arrest. A DUI/DWI arrest can be aggravated by striking a pedestrian. Both charges are very serious and may result in prison time and fines.

Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter charges can be brought if a driver’s negligence causes the death of a passenger, pedestrian, or other drivers. Driving while intoxicated, under the influence, or impaired and striking a pedestrian, killing them, is an example of such negligence. This is a serious case for such an incident, but vehicular manslaughter accounts for 11% of traffic deaths according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. These charges are very serious and can lead to felony charges and prison time depending on the other factors of the case.

Civil Cases

When a pedestrian is struck by a drunk or impaired driver, they are likely to bring a civil suit against the driver. The damages that a pedestrian could collect include medical costs, compensation for economic loss from not working, as well as mental and emotional anguish that can stem from a traumatic event. They can also collect damages for what is referred to as “loss of normal life.” If a victim of a pedestrian accident is injured so badly that they become disabled or suffer from chronic pain, their life is forever altered. Courts account for this type of loss and place a value on it.

In most cases, if a pedestrian is struck due to the negligence of a driver under the influence, they can sue. If they die as a result of the crash, then their surviving family members could file a wrongful death suit against the driver. The wrongful death case would seek similar damages as a personal injury case, except they are damages of the survivors. Things like funeral costs, loss of companionship, loss of financial support, and other types of harm suffered by those surviving the victim.

Attorney Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert says, “If you have been struck by a driver who was drunk or under the influence of a substance, you deserve compensation. Drivers owe you a duty of care when on the road. Acts of negligence, such as drinking and driving violates this duty and places pedestrians in harm’s way. The last thing someone should have to think about while trying to heal is paperwork and court documents.”

Being hit by a car, especially one operated by someone who is drunk, can cause very serious, life threatening injuries. These can have lifetime effects on a person and for that, they deserve compensation and support. A personal injury lawyer can help the victim learn what damages they are eligible for and handle the case. Contacting a personal injury lawyer is always a very important first step.