What to do about a personal injury suffered by a passenger if the driver was charged with DUI?

My daugther was being driven home by a friend she was babysitting for. My friend had been drinking and swerved to miss a pole. The pole took off the passenger mirror and scraped the passenger door. Her swerving caused the car to go off the curb and pop a tire. As she slammed on the breaks to miss the pole, my daughter was thrown forward and then the seatbelt locked, causing her to be thrown backwards resulting in a back injury. She has been treated twice at urgent care. She has missed school and is now under the care of a physical therapist. The driver was arrested by RRPD and booked for DUI. She we speak with a personal injury attorney? In Sandoval, MI. 

Asked on August 23, 2011 New Mexico

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It would be advisable to speak with a personal injury attorney.

The driver's auto insurance carrier might deny liability because the driver was drunk which the auto insurance company would construe as an intentional rather than a negligent act.  If that is the case, you would have to sue the driver for your daughter's injuries.  It would be premature to file a lawsuit until your daughter completes her medical treatment and is released by the doctor or is declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means she has reached a point where no further improvement is anticipated.  If you were to file the lawsuit prior to completion of medical treatment, you would not have the total bills.  You should obtain the medical bills and the medical reports.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your daughter's injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  I assume your daughter is a minor.  If that is the case, you will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to sue on her behalf because a minor cannot file a lawsuit.  You will need to file the lawsuit against the other driver prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your daughter will lose her rights in the matter forever.


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