In a car accident, can I sue for all damages if the other driver was drunk?

UPDATED: Jan 12, 2011

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In a car accident, can I sue for all damages if the other driver was drunk?

My husband was involved in an auto accident. My husband and the other driver bothhad PLPD and both parties are from the state of MI. My husband was notat fault; the other driver was. The other driver was driving too fast for the road conditions and lost control and crossed the median and hit my husband. Come to find out the at fault driver was drunk and he was put in jail that night. My husbands’ car is totaled out. The other party says he did not get a citation for the accident, just a citation for an OWI. I called the sheriff’s department and the sheriff told me that the other party was at fault not only because he was drunk but also due to the fact he was driving too fast and was not in control of his vehicle. Am I able to sue the drunk driver for all the damages that were lost for my husband and I?

Asked on January 12, 2011 under Accident Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Yes--if you are injured by someone's negligence (and DUI/DWI is generally negligence per se), you can recover for medical costs, pain and suffering (for a serious injuries), property damage, and other out-of-pocket costs (e.g. lost wages; leasing a replacement vehicle; etc.) No lawsuit is certain, of course, but usually provably DUI drivers lose, especially if they were also driving too fast, etc. Note that to the extent you have recovered or had costs paid for by insurance, you can't be paid twice by suing; your insurer, who has paid for you, has the right to recoup its expenses up to what it's paid out on your behalf. You can then recover amounts over  that, or for types of damages for which you were not compensated. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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