Getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking or using drugs is one of the most reckless things that a person can do. But, tragically, it happens all too frequently. According to the Michigan State Police's annual drunk driving audit, 4,842 people were injured and 204 were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2010. That number is, thankfully, better than in the previous two years, when over 5,000 were hurt and more than 230 lost their lives. But as we all know, even one death or injury is unacceptable, especially because drunk driving can so easily be prevented.
When an accident happens, it can be hard to imagine pursuing a lawsuit while coping with serious injuries such as brain injuries,spinal cord injuries, burns, broken bones and internal organ damage. But you have several legal options. In addition to the drunk driver, under Michigan's dram shop laws, legal claims can be made against establishments that sell the liquor to the intoxicated person.
If you are coping with injuries or the loss of a loved one following a drunk driving car wreck, call the personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers We are familiar with Michigan statutes involving drunk driving and car accidents and may help you recover damages that you rightfully deserve.
Call our firm at (888) 454-0801 or contact us online for a free evaluation of your claim. If there is no recovery in your case, there is no fee for our services.
Drunk Driving: Not an Exact Science
Analyzing the impact of alcohol and drugs on a person's behavior can be difficult because everyone reacts differently to alcohol. The level of impairment can vary based on each individual's body weight, how many drinks they have consumed, the alcohol concentration of those drinks and the time between drinks. Other environmental factors, such as sun exposure, can also exacerbate symptoms. Fortunately, Michigan authorities use several tools to assess a driver's level of intoxication. Criminal defense lawyers, however, will use every opportunity to find fault with their assessments.
Types of Michigan Drunk Driving Charges
Michigan – along with all states in the U.S., the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – has laws that make it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. There are several charges that can be filed against an impaired driver:
- First, officers may charge someone with Operating a Vehicle While Visibly Impaired (OWVI). These charges might result from an officer's judgments following a field sobriety test or preliminary breath test (PBT). This is the least serious of the drunk driving charges.
- Chemical testing for blood-alcohol content is the standard way authorities verify a person's level of impairment, which may be conducted through breath, urine or blood analyses. If the tests reveal a BAC of 0.08 or higher, they may be charged with Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Content (UBAC) or Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). High BAC (0.17 BAC or higher) is also an OWI offense, with more serious penalties. Obviously, when a death or injury occurs, the most serious charges apply.
Criminal defense lawyers may often criticize the findings of chemical tests by claiming that breath-testing equipment was defective or that the officer was improperly trained in how to conduct the test. Don't let them get away with a wishy-washy defense. Call a qualified drunk driving attorney to make sure the at-fault driver is held accountable for his or her negligence.
Dram Shop Lawsuits
In certain circumstances, victims of alcohol-related accidents or their families may be able to pursue a claim against the business that sold the liquor to the at-fault driver. This is called a "dram shop" action.
Under the law, it is illegal for a "retail agent," such as a clerk or server, to give alcohol to someone who is visibly impaired. If you can prove that the sale was the proximate cause of the drunk driving accident, you may be able to recover damages from them.
If you think that you have the right to pursue a legal claim under Michigan's Dram Shop Act, it is important to contact a lawyer immediately, because there is a short statute of limitations. You must give written notice to all defendants in a dram shop case within 120 days of retaining an attorney.
Are You The Victim of a Drunk Driving Crash? Our DUI Accident Attorneys Can Help
The Car Accident Attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers in Michigan know how devastating a drunk driving accident can be for victims and their loved ones. The costs of medical bills and long-term care can be astronomical, and those who lose a spouse, child or other family member may also inherit significant financial burdens that stem from those losses.
The Michigan DUI attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers can help you obtain compensation as you begin to rebuild your life. Call our Michigan accident lawyers at (888) 454-0801 or contact us online for a free evaluation of your claim. If we don't win, you won't pay for our assistance.
Based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan Injury Lawyers represents clients across Michigan, includingMacomb County, Oakland County, Warren, Clinton Township, Sterling Heights, St. Clair Shores, Mount Clemens, Utica, Roseville, Troy, Farmington Hills, Waterford, Southfield, Pontiac, Birmingham Michigan, Rochester Hills, West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills.