Visitor Question

Can I get compensation if I got a DUI but the accident wasn’t my fault?

Submitted By: Scott (PA)

I was traveling east bound. 2 vehicles traveling west bound got tangled up. 1 vehicle ended up on its roof and slid over the grass median and blocked both east bound lanes I was traveling in.

I ended up hitting that vehicle blocking both lanes and proceeded to hit a giant rock boulder on someone’s front lawn. I ended up in the hospital for a week with broken bones and other injuries. I also received a DUI because my Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was .13%, which is over the legal limit.

Can I still receive compensation for my injuries, even though I received a DUI? I was not deemed at fault for the accident. Is there anything else I can do legally in this scenario? Thank you for any information you can provide.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Scott,

In the State of Pennsylvania, the legal limit of alcohol or Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for adults is .08%. By your own admission, you were slightly less than two times the legal limit.

A DUI doesn’t entirely negate one’s legal right to compensation for injuries inflicted by a third party. However, intoxication does raise a legitimate question of your having contributed to your own injuries.

To address issues of multiple party liability, the State of Pennsylvania enacted a Comparative Negligence statute. Under PA law, an injured party may recover compensation from a negligent driver. But if the victim seeking compensation is determined to have contributed to his or her own injuries, the victim’s compensation will be reduced in proportion to his or her own contribution to the accident.

However, if the victim’s comparative negligence is determined to be 51% or higher, the victim is legally barred from pursuing compensation from the negligent driver(s).

In your case, it appears you were injured as a result of the actions of two other drivers. When the insurance companies get involved and investigate the accident, they will take the position you would not have been injured if you had not been intoxicated; that if you had been sober, you could have reacted quickly enough to avoid the accident.

The insurance companies will likely take the position your contribution to the accident was in excess of 50%. As a result, they will chose to pay you little or no compensation for your injuries. If though, it is determined your percentage of contribution to the accident was less than 51%, the compensation you receive will be apportioned according to the percentage of your comparative negligence.

To read Pennsylvania’s Comparative Negligence Statute go to: Pennsylvania Revised Statutes, Section 7102 (a) (a.1)(1)

Learn more here: Liability in Drunk Driving Accidents

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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