Drunk Driving Accidents
In spite of significant drunk driving campaigns, some people still choose to drink and drive. Some of these DUI accidents are minor, but many more result in serious injuries or deaths each year. After a crash that causes you serious impairment, permanent disfigurement, or a loved one's death, you should consult an experienced car accident attorney. At Neumann Law Group, our principal, Kelly Neumann, is an award-winning Detroit, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids drunk driving accident lawyer who has regularly secured more than $3 million in personal injury cases each year over the past several years.Establishing Liability for a Drunk Driving Accident
Michigan is a no-fault insurance state, in which you must suffer a "threshold injury" in order to go beyond your own no-fault PIP benefits to sue an at-fault driver for noneconomic damages. The no-fault PIP benefits will compensate an insured for economic losses if the insured does not have a threshold injury. Threshold injuries are those that cause death, permanent serious disfigurement, or a serious impairment of bodily function. These definitions are regularly interpreted and reinterpreted by courts.
If you have a threshold injury, you likely can sue a drunk driver for negligence in order to recover noneconomic damages, which typically include pain and suffering. You might also be able to make a claim for excess economic loss damages, which include compensation for lost income extending beyond the three-year window during which PIP benefits are provided.
You will have to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the drunk driver owed you a duty of care, there was a breach of duty, causation linked the breach to the accident, and you sustained actual damages. Drunk driving is illegal, and it is likely that you will be able to establish a breach of duty by using evidence such as a police report, eyewitness testimony, or bar receipts. A different, higher standard of proof is used in criminal cases, so even if a drunk driver is acquitted or charges are dismissed in criminal court, it does not mean that you cannot recover damages in civil court. In addition to noneconomic damages, you may also be able to recover punitive damages for injuries related to a drunk driving accident. Punitive damages are intended to deter future similar misconduct and punish an at-fault party.
Sometimes, victims of drunk driving accidents in Michigan may pursue damages from the business that sold alcohol to the drunk driver in a lawsuit under the Dram Shop Act. Retail liquor licensees, such as bars and restaurants, are not permitted to give alcohol to someone who appears visibly impaired. If the sale of alcohol is a legal cause of a drunk driving accident, you may be able to recover damages from the retailer. There is a shorter statute of limitations and notice requirement associated with the Dram Shop Act.Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, or Detroit
Drunk driving accidents can be devastating and often result in catastrophic injuries. A victim's only recourse may be a personal injury lawsuit. If you need to sue for damages, the Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City drunk driving accident attorneys at Neumann Law Group may be able to help you recover the compensation you need and deserve. We represent victims in Petoskey, Warren, Holland, Midland, Muskegon, Saginaw, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Flint, Ann Arbor, and communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision attorney. We also represent injured individuals in Massachusetts and California.