If you have been the victim of a drunk driver, you have the right to hold that driver responsible for the losses you sustained due to the accident. Drunk driving cases can have many different legal issues, however, so it is important to have an attorney handling your case who has experience with this type of case.
Negligence Per Se
Following a car accident, if law enforcement arrive on the scene and suspect the other driver is intoxicated, they will likely perform field sobriety tests on the driver or request that they take a breath or blood test to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC). If police have reasonable suspicion to suspect that the driver is over the legal limit, they will place them under arrest and prosecutors will likely issue charges for driving while intoxicated.1 If the driver is then convicted, that conviction can significantly help your case due to a legal doctrine called “negligence per se.”
When an individual violates a statute and causes injuries, they can be found to be automatically negligent—referred to as negligent per se—by the courts. In such situations, all you would have to prove is that the driver violated the law and a conviction can serve as evidence of such. This eliminates the need for significant evidence to be gathered to prove negligence as would be required in a case not involving violation of a law. Because drunk driving is against the law, this legal issue often arises in this type of case.
Dram Shop Laws in Michigan
A “dram shop law” is one that regulates whether a claim can be filed against a third party for serving alcohol to an individual who then causes injury. Michigan’s dram shop statute2 does allow an injured accident victim to file a legal claim to hold a bar or another alcohol vendor liable in certain situations. These situations include the following:
- The bar served alcohol to the driver who was under the legal drinking age of 21 years old; or
- The bar served alcohol to the driver who was already visibly in a state of intoxication.
Under such circumstances, you can not only file an auto accident claim against the drunk driver but also against the bar that over-served them or served them despite being a minor. It is important to note, however, that unlike commercial vendors, social hosts cannot be held liable for injuries caused by their guests who were intoxicated.
Call a Michigan auto accident lawyer as soon as possible
At the office of Michigan Injury Lawyers, we have successfully represented many victims of drunk drivers and we use all applicable laws in Michigan to your advantage whenever possible. Driving while intoxicated is unacceptable and causes thousands of injuries and deaths on an annual basis. If you are one of the injured victims of a drunk driving accident, you deserve to be fully compensated for all of your injury-related losses. Call our office today at 313-438-4357 for a free consultation.