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The Legal Concept of Negligence Per Se in Drunk Driving Cases

| Drunk Driving Accident

Table of Contents

Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities on the road year after year. To prevent these losses, Ohio has very strict laws regarding impaired driving. Still, not everyone complies with the law and this results in some of the most serious collisions.

If you or someone you love has been hurt by an impaired driver, you can file a civil claim against them for financial compensation. While most personal injury claims rest on the legal theory of negligence, drunk driving cases are somewhat different. These cases often rest on negligence per se. Below, our Columbus drunk driving lawyer explains more about this legal concept.

Understanding Negligence Per Se 

The term ‘negligence per se’ means ‘negligence in itself.’ Defendants in civil cases who violate a regulation or legal statute are considered negligent because the violation on its own is a breach of their duty of care. Due to this, accident victims do not have to prove the defendant was negligent or careless. They must only prove the defendant violated the law and that they were injured as a result. There are some exceptions to negligence per se:

  • The statute or regulation the defendant violated was not clear,
  • The defendant showed reasonable care by trying to abide by the law, and
  • The violation of the law caused less harm than if the defendant had obeyed the law.

When a drunk driver causes an accident that results in injury, the above exceptions will not likely apply to the case.

How to Prove Negligence Per Se 

It is true that cases based on negligence per se are often easier to prove than those that rest on negligence alone. Still, you must prove that the other driver was impaired at the time of the crash for negligence per se to apply. There are a few ways to do this:

  • An arrest or police report showing the defendant was charged with drunk driving, or operating vehicle while impaired (OVI), as the crime is known in Ohio,
  • Results from a breathalyzer or other chemical test that shows the defendant was impaired,
  • Footage from traffic and video surveillance cameras that show the defendant was driving erratically,
  • Statements from eyewitnesses who saw the defendant’s drunk behavior, or
  • Receipts from the bar or restaurant that served the defendant enough alcohol to leave them impaired.

A lawyer can collect the important evidence to prove your case while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Our Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Columbus Can Prove Your Case 

A case based on negligence per se may be easier to prove than other types of personal injury claims, but challenges can still arise. At Oliver Law Office, our Columbus drunk driving accident lawyer can overcome these challenges and prove your case so you obtain the full and fair settlement that is justly yours. Call or text us now at 614-220-9100 or chat with us online to book a free consultation.



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