Last Updated: 11/30/2023
When a driver who has a blood alcohol content level – BAC – of .08 percent (the legal limit in Iowa) or more causes an accident, they are almost always held liable for damages and may face criminal and civil penalties.
However, alcohol-related car accidents wherein the at-fault driver had been drinking but whose BAC is lower than .08 percent could still be held liable. Here’s what you need to know about car accidents involving alcohol.
The Law for Drinking and Driving in Iowa
According to Iowa’s Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated or Drugged law, a person who has a BAC of .08 percent or more is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle. However, the law also stipulates that operating a motor vehicle while “under the influence of an alcoholic beverage,” is also illegal. As such, if a person has been drinking and is driving, he or she may be in violation of the law regardless of BAC.
What’s more, if the driver who caused the accident had an amount of any controlled substance in his or her bloodstream at the time of the accident – even if he or she had not been drinking – the person is in violation of the law. The law prohibits a person from operating a motor vehicle while having any amount of a controlled substance in the body.
A BAC of .08 and proof of drugs and alcohol in the body while operating a motor vehicle are not the only ways to hold a person liable for an accident in Iowa. Instead, liability is based on a driver’s negligence. If a driver was doing anything outside of what could be considered reasonably prudent behavior, and if that behavior leads to an accident, then the person may be held liable for all damages. Proving negligence is only one part of proving car crash liability. To get the full story, read our free eBook The Legal Insider’s Guide to Iowa Car Accidents: 7 Secrets to Not Wreck Your Case.
Iowa’s comparative fault laws, found in Chapter 668: Liability in Tort – Comparative Fault, state that any damages recovered in a civil suit will be diminished by the plaintiff’s percentage of negligence. Therefore, if the driver who caused the accident was not 100 percent at fault, then the victim’s damages amount will be reduced by the victim’s percentage of fault.
Speak with an Attorney Today about Recovering Damages after a Car Accident
If you’ve been hurt by one of the many common car accident injuries because of an impaired driver, then the law provides you with the right to take civil action. To help you get started, call the attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair today at (888) 435-9886.