When a person is struck by a vehicle, the resulting injuries are often severe and even fatal. While there are countless ways that a collision might happen, many are the result of a driver’s careless or reckless behavior. One of the most common ways drivers are negligent behind the wheel is by drinking and driving.
State laws require all motorists to operate their vehicles with an appropriate amount of care—this applies to all roadways that are open to the public and requires drivers to protect all other people, including pedestrians. Therefore, if a driver hits a pedestrian while driving drunk, they could cause severe injuries and face serious legal consequences.
While this is a criminal offense, it is also a violation of their civil duty of care. As a result, if you or a loved one was injured in a Michigan drunk driving pedestrian accident, you have legal rights and might benefit from contacting a skilled lawyer for help.
Michigan’s Intoxication Laws
Simply put, it is illegal for any person to operate a motor vehicle on roads or streets while drunk. Specifically, Michigan Vehicle Code §257.625(1) provides a detailed definition of what it means to operate while intoxicated. A driver violates this law if they:
- Are under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
- Have a blood/alcohol content (BAC) at or above .08 percent—furthermore, a BAC of .17 percent or higher can result in enhanced penalties
If an injured pedestrian wishes to file a claim against an inebriated driver, this process would be separate from a criminal trial. However, while the outcome of a criminal case does not directly impact a civil lawsuit, it might serve as persuasive evidence of the defendant’s negligence.
This could prove to be essential, as most civil lawsuit demanding compensation are based on the legal concept of negligence per se. Essentially, the burden of proof rests with the injured claimant, who must demonstrate that a drunk driver was the cause of a pedestrian accident in Michigan. Due to this, hiring a lawyer who is familiar with the claims process might be beneficial.
Compensation Alternatives to Pedestrians Injured by Intoxicated Drivers
Michigan is a no-fault insurance state. This means that an injured pedestrian can always make a claim to request compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses following an accident, regardless of who is to blame. This is separate than claims for compensation that involve personal injury damages, like those for mental anguish, disability, and pain and suffering cannot be included. Pedestrians hit by an inebriated driver can also pursue a civil lawsuit for additional money damages.
Furthermore, other parties might be held responsible for an intoxicated driver’s actions. For example, if a bar or restaurant continued to serve alcohol to the defendant with the knowledge that they were already visibly inebriated, that establishment might be able to be held liable for a claimant’s losses. This is called a Dram Shop claim and it can help the victim receive additional injury compensation.
Hiring an Attorney After a Michigan Drunk Driving Pedestrian Collision
If you were hit by an intoxicated driver, you might be suffering from severe trauma and unsure of how to recover. However, by working with a lawyer who is familiar with Michigan drunk driving pedestrian accident claims, you could have legal assistance with each step.
While no-fault insurance might cover some or even all of your losses, a compassionate attorney could help to calculate your damages and work to pursue a civil lawsuit to recover the compensation you need to move past your injuries and on with your life. To learn more, reach out to a legal professional at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. today.
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