Hit by a Drunk Driver? Here’s What to Do Next

what happens when you get hit by a drunk driver

Wondering what happens when you get hit by a drunk driver? Regardless of Michigan’s strict drunk driving laws, people still drink and drive. Some of those drivers end up causing crashes that result in serious injuries or fatalities. 

If you’ve been a victim of carelessness or negligence of a drunk driver, your personal injury lawyer will help you fight for justice. An experienced attorney will understand how physically, financially, and emotionally devastating a drunk driving accident can be for victims and their families.

Keep reading to understand more about the legal ramifications that happen after you’re hit by a drunk driver.

How Does Michigan Define Drunk Driving?

Michigan has specific protocol for determining drunk driving. As laid out by Michigan Legislature, “drunk driving” is defined by the following descriptions:

  • Driving while impaired by alcohol or another intoxicating substance.
  • Driving with a body alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.

If the driver is under legal drinking age (21), there are additional definitions of drunk driving, including:

  • Driving with a BAC of 0.02% or higher, or any alcohol in your body unless it was consumed at a religious ceremony.

Is The Drunk Driver Immediately At Fault?

Believe it or not, a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs isn’t automatically at fault for an accident. It may be possible that the cause of the accident was unrelated to the driver’s level of intoxication.

In order for the driver to be determined liable for injuries or damage resulting from an accident, the party seeking compensation must be able to prove that the intoxicated driver was at fault. 

Legal fault has the following three components:

  1. Duty of Care: Drivers are required by law to operate their vehicle with care at all times.
  2. Breach: The driver did something that was unreasonable or wreckless.
  3. Causation: This is established by proving a direct correlation between the breach of care and the injuries or damage.

“Negligence Per Se” Laws

Michigan has “negligence per se” laws that can affect situations like these. These laws deem an act as negligent as soon as it violates a law that has been set in place to protect the public. 

Because of this, the duty of care and breach are automatically established via proof that the driver violated DUI laws. 

Therefore, the party seeking compensation only needs to prove that the defendant was guilty of causation and driving under the influence.

What Happens When You Get Hit by a Drunk Driver?

While your existing options are legally complex, it’s important to remember that Michigan law doesn’t require you to answer any questions from the opposing insurer. 

As the injured victim of a crash caused by a drunk driver, you have legal options that you can pursue; including, but not limited to:

  • Your No-Fault Insurance: Financial benefits are available from your own insurance company for your medical bills, wage losses, attendant care and other services. Even if you don’t own a car, you might still be eligible for no-fault benefits.
  • A Personal Injury Lawsuit: You can file a lawsuit against the drunk driver who caused your accident and injuries. You would be eligible to receive a wide variety of both economic and non-economic damages.
  • A Michigan Dram Shop Lawsuit: A bar, restaurant or liquor store that sold alcoholic beverages to the driver who caused your crash might be held liable for your injuries. However, the business must have sold alcohol to a minor or a visibly intoxicated person to be held responsible. Then, that person then must have caused an accident that resulted in injuries, death, or property damage.
  • Your Own Insurance: If you’re covered by uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance, you might be in a position to file a personal injury claim with your own insurance company.

Please Do Not Drink and Drive

Every day in the United States, 37 people die in car crashes involving alcohol—that’s one person every 39 minutes. All of these deaths are preventable.

Remember: If you feel different, you drive different. Never drink and drive.

Additionally, if you see a careless driver on the road, they could be driving under the influence. In these situations, contact law enforcement immediately to get them off of the road. 

One phone call could save someone’s life.

Need Help Getting Justice After a Drunk Driving Incident? Wigod & Falzon is Here For You

Anyone who’s undergone injury or property damage after an accident involving an intoxicated driver deserves compensation.

Our attorneys at Wigod & Falzon understand that these situations are scary, and we’ll handle your case with compassion and dedication every step of the way. You can count on us to pursue every avenue available to ensure you receive total and fair compensation for your injuries and losses. 

Reach out to our legal team today for a free, no-commitment consultation.