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Factors to consider when filing a DUI-related civil lawsuit

Motorists in Michigan will likely know that the risks of being the victim of a drunk driver’s negligence increase in the time leading up to the holidays. Many injuries suffered in DUI accidents cause long-term or even permanent health problems. The impact of the injuries on a victim’s life is one of the factors courts consider when determining monetary judgments.

Degree of fault

Michigan laws recognize comparative negligence defenses, which means the court will reduce damage recovery by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault or negligence, if any. The plaintiff must establish negligence on the part of the impaired driver, but a criminal conviction might be sufficient proof of negligence.

Long-term medical expenses

Victims whose injuries require long-term medical care, such brain or spinal cord injuries, may have grounds to claim past and future damages to cover medical bills.

Debilitating injuries

DUI crash victims whose injuries are such that they can no longer work or have diminished abilities to earn an income will typically be entitled to have the court consider these losses. This could apply to mental and physical injuries.

Dram shop laws

Under the dram shop laws in Michigan, establishments like bars, restaurants or other facilities that serve alcohol could be named as defendants. For this to apply, the plaintiff must show that the DUI driver was served alcohol at the establishment while he or she was already visibly impaired, leading to the subsequent accident.

Wrongful death

When lives are lost in accidents caused by drunk drivers, the surviving family members may have grounds to file wrongful death lawsuits.

Crash victims should note that the statute of limitations in Michigan for personal injury claims varies depending on the nature of the claim. It makes sense to consult an attorney at the first opportunity following a car accident involving serious injuries.