It is fairly safe assumption that the vast majority of us who drive are aware of the fact that drunk driving is against the law. People who are caught driving drunk are often subject to stiff legal penalties, which can become significantly more serious if they are involved in an injury-causing accident. But what about the innocent people who are injured in a drunk driving accident? Fortunately, they are often entitled to bring a legal claim against the driver in order to recover for their losses, like the damage to their vehicle, their medical expenses, their lost income, and their physical and emotional pain and suffering.
It is important to understand that any legal action brought by victims of drunk driving accidents is completely separate from any criminal action that the state brings against the drunk driver. Not only will they need to establish that the driver was drunk, but they will also need to present evidence of the way in which the accident has affected them. Some of the evidence that may be relevant in a civil drunk driving accident case includes the following:
- Evidence indicating that the driver was drunk – In almost every case imaginable, drunk driving would be deemed negligent1 driving by a civil court. Because recovering compensation is contingent upon establishing negligence, a plaintiff must show that the driver was drunk. Fortunately, if there is a criminal case pending or one has already concluded, the evidence gathered by law enforcement can be used to establish that the driver was under the influence of alcohol. Furthermore, if the state has already obtained a conviction, the matter may be considered closed by a Michigan court2 under a legal doctrine known as “collateral estoppel.”
- Evidence Establishing Your Damages – In addition to establishing that the other driver was drunk, you will also need to establish your damages. You will need to obtain and present evidence showing your economic and non-economic losses, such as your medical expenses, repair estimates, a physician’s opinion regarding your pain and suffering, and paystubs establishing how much income you have lost.
Call a Michigan Personal Injury Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
If you have been injured in an accident involving a drunk driver, you should call Michigan Injury Lawyers as soon as possible, as it is very likely that you are legally entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced attorney, call our office today at 313-GET-HELP or send us an email through our online contact form.