Average Settlement for Being Hit by a Drunk Driver

Average Settlement for Being Hit by a Drunk DriverWe are often asked, “What is the average settlement for being hit by a drunk driver?” Our personal injury lawyers want to answer this question.

Drunk driving caused 32 deaths per day in the United States in 2020.

That number doesn’t include the significant physical and emotional injuries caused by drunk driving that didn’t result in death.

In Maine, those who’ve been the victim of a drunk driving collision can sue the responsible party. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may like to know the average settlement for being hit by a drunk driver.

A drunk driving accident’s settlement value depends on various factors and can differ significantly depending on the facts of each case. This is why providing an average settlement for a drunk driving accident requires additional explanation.   

Drunk Driving Defined

In Maine, driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher is illegal. An intoxicated driver will face the criminal charge of “Operating Under the Influence” (OUI).

Plus, if a person under 18 operates a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system, they’ll automatically lose their license for a year. It is key to understand the definition of drunk driving when learning about drunk driving accident settlement. 

Drunk Driving Lawsuit Basics

Before discussing the average settlement for being hit by a drunk driver, you must first understand what you must prove in a lawsuit against the responsible parties. 


Most civil lawsuits against drunk drivers use the legal standard of negligence. To prove negligence, you must show the following:

  • Duty—the driver owes you and the public a duty to operate the vehicle sober and comply with the law;
  • Breach of duty—the driver breached that duty when they operated a vehicle under the influence;
  • Causation—the drunk driver caused the accident;
  • Damages—you sustained injuries as a result.

You can prove the first two elements above if the driver had an illegal blood alcohol level. After all, every driver has a duty to operate their vehicle safely, and driving while intoxicated is—by definition—a breach of that duty.

But you will likely need a car accident lawyer for the last two elements, especially if you want to recover as much compensation as is owed to you.

Contributory Negligence

Something that will affect a drunk driving settlement calculation is if you are somewhat at fault for the accident. Under Maine’s comparative negligence law, a court will reduce your compensation if you are partially at fault for the accident. Plus, if you are equally or more at fault for the accident, you may not recover anything.

Types of Compensation Available

You may be able to recover economic and noneconomic damages in a drunk driving case. Economic damages are relatively easy to calculate because they have an exact dollar amount. Economic damages include:

  • Car or other property damage costs,
  • Medical and hospital bills,
  • Lost wages while you recovered from your injuries, and
  • Potential lost future earnings and non-economic damages.

Non-economic damages are less easy to quantify and vary for each person. They include emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you get an idea of the amount of these damages. 

Fact-Based Variables in a Drunk Driving Accident Settlement

It’s challenging to give an average settlement for a drunk driving accident in Maine because every case is unique. For example, one person could be injured in a drunk driving accident, recover after a week or so, and incur minor property damage.

Because they missed so little work, their lost wages would be minimal, and their property damage amount would also be small. However, another person could sustain serious injuries, requiring them to be out of work for several months and resulting in a mountain of hospital bills. These two people would have different damages calculations because of their circumstances. 

Contact our Car Accident Attorneys for Help With a Drunk Driving Settlement

The average settlement for being hit by a drunk driver is not straightforward. Compensation amounts can vary significantly. You need an advocate who understands your unique situation and isn’t afraid to fight for what you’re entitled to under the law.

Mann Law’s car accident lawyer, is here to help you in this difficult time. We believe that it’s critical for good representation to develop a close relationship with each client so that their unique needs are central to our legal strategy. Contact us today.

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Christiana E. Mann Christiana “Chrissy” Mann has specialized in civil litigation for 21+ years as a savvy and creative litigator, and she’s regarded as a fair, compassionate, and zealous advocate on behalf of her clients.