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Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Michigan

We only charge a 22% contingency fee of the final settlement. Other Michigan attorneys charge 331/3%.
Drunk driving accident lawyer in Michigan

Michigan Drunk Driving Accidents Attorney

In 2019 impaired driving was, tragically, a factor in 42.5 percent of all Michigan traffic fatalities. In addition, drug-impaired and drunk driving accidents resulted in almost 75,000 injuries that year. As a result, tens of thousands of victims now must deal with the consequences of a bad decision made by a drunk driver on the date of their car or truck accident.

Accident claims involving drunk drivers are complex. To protect your interests, you need representation by an experienced drunk driving accident attorney well-versed in Michigan law and willing to fight to see you receive the compensation and justice you deserve.

When you trust Matz Injury Law, we prioritize your needs while our experienced Michigan car accident lawyers fight hard for you. Learn more about the repercussions of drunk driving accidents and how a dedicated Michigan car accident attorney can help your case. Contact our personal injury law firm today for a free consultation by calling 1-866-22Not33 or using our online contact form.

What are Michigan’s Drunk Driving Laws?

man drinking and driving

Under Michigan state law, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher if over the age of 21. For people younger than 21 and not legally allowed to consume alcohol, the limit is .02 BAC or higher. If a motorist gets behind the wheel with a BAC higher than .17, this comes with more significant penalties. Furthermore, anyone operating an automobile can be arrested for DUI if they exhibit signs of impairment while driving, regardless of their BAC level.

Michigan takes drinking and driving seriously. A first offense with a BAC under .17 comes with up to a $500 fine, a maximum of 93 days in jail, up to 360 hours of community service, and a maximum of 180 days of license suspension. The drunk driver also receives six points on their driver’s license. Intoxicated drivers who test more than .17 BAC see higher fines, jail time, and license suspension. Michigan also utilizes ignition interlock use for drivers with limited driving privileges.

Common Injuries Sustained in Drunk Driving Accidents

Sadly, it is common for a victim of a drunk driving accident to endure long-term or permanent suffering due to the negligent and irresponsible behavior of those who decide to drive while intoxicated. The following is a list of serious injuries commonly sustained by Michigan drunk driving accident victims.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

A TBI is caused by a forceful jolt, bump, or blow to the head or body. Concussions are amongst the mildest forms of TBI, and even they can have long-term effects. When a car accident victim suffers a moderate or severe TBI, they often suffer long-term or permanent physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. Not all TBI symptoms appear immediately. Some occur days, weeks, or even months after a crash.

Spinal Injury

A spinal cord injury occurs when a person suffers damage to the bundle of cells and nerves that communicate between the brain and the body. Common spine injuries associated with a car accident include disc injuries, sprains, strains, stenosis, spinal compressions, and deformities.

Broken Bones

People who experience a DUI car crash often suffer broken bones. The most frequently injured areas of the body are extremities that hit the car upon impact, such as legs, wrists, and noses.

Soft Tissue Injury

Injury to soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and whiplash, are common in DUI auto accidents and can lead to prolonged suffering. Other injuries, such as sprains, strains, contusions, tendinitis, and bursitis, also fall under the soft tissue injury category.

Organ Damage

Due to the hard impact of a crash, it is common for drunk driving accident victims to sustain organ damage or internal bleeding. Many of these injuries can have long-term effects or be life-threatening.


In severe car crashes, one or more vehicles may catch fire. If this occurs, victims inside the cars may suffer burns, causing scarring, personal disfigurement, infections, and emotional trauma.

Mental Trauma

Car accident victims often suffer mental trauma from a crash, resulting in long-term mental anguish, including, but not limited to, panic attacks, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Wrongful Death

All Michigan car accidents involving drunk driving have a level of tragedy, but the most tragic is when an innocent person loses their life due to the reckless actions of a drunk driver.

Can I Sue a Drunk Driver for an Accident?

In Michigan, a drunk driver is liable for all injuries sustained in their DUI accident, including the other driver(s), passengers in other vehicles, passengers in their own vehicle, pedestrians, and cyclists. If your injuries are severe, you can also file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for your physical injuries, medical expenses, and the pain and suffering you endure due to the DUI accident.

A drunk driver can be held accountable in both a civil lawsuit and a criminal case. In a civil case, the victim brings a case against the drunk driver to obtain compensation to help pay for the physical and emotional suffering they have gone through as a direct result of the drunk driving accident. No criminal sentences are issued in a civil suit.

A criminal case is brought to court by a prosecutor or city attorney who pursues conviction and sentencing as punishment for drunk driving. In this case, the prosecutor stands up for the public and the victim to hold the drunk driver responsible for their actions. A judge will reach a verdict and determine sentencing for the drunk driver, which can include probation, jail, restitution, fines, community service, or a combination of any of these sentences.

Michigan’s Dram Shop Act and How It Can Affect Your Case

man drinking and holding his car keys

The state of Michigan has what is called a “Dram Shop Act.” This law holds establishments (or hosts) that sell alcohol partially responsible for drunk driving. Essentially, establishments are responsible for using sound judgment and not serving alcohol to visibly drunk or underage patrons.

To use the Michigan Dram Shop Act, drunk driving accident lawyers must show evidence that the drunk driver was served alcohol while visibly intoxicated shortly before they got behind the wheel. Dram shop cases can be difficult to win since they usually require witness testimony to recount the drunk driver being visibly impaired — a BAC is not enough evidence to successfully sue an establishment.

If you want to pursue a case using the Dram Shop Law, you must do so quickly. You only have 120 days from the drunk driving accident date to inform the establishment of your intent to pursue a claim. Speak with a knowledgeable Michigan drunk driving accident lawyer to learn more about pursuing a dram shop lawsuit and receiving a related accident settlement.

What if I Was Partially Responsible for the Accident?

If you were partially at fault for causing an accident with a drunk driver, Michigan Law follows comparative negligence to determine damages. This means the court will calculate the percentage of fault that was yours and reduce your settlement by that amount. For example, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault, your Michigan car accident settlement will be reduced by 20 percent. The drunk driver would be responsible for 80 percent of the accident settlement amount. Some reasons you may be found partially at fault include distracted driving, which includes texting while driving, as well as speeding, rolling through a stop sign, or ignoring a traffic light.

Navigating Insurance Claims After a Drunk Driving Accident in Michigan

Under Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws, the drunk driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying out personal injury protection (PIP) settlements to individuals injured in a DUI crash, including those in the car with the drunk driver. If the drunk driver does not carry insurance, you can file a claim with your own — or a family member’s — insurance policy under the policy’s uninsured motorist provision.

How Long Do I Have to Sue a Drunk Driver After an Accident?

In Michigan, you have three years from the date of the drunk driving accident to file a suit against a drunk driver or the owner of the vehicle that was being driven drunk. This deadline may be extended if the injured victim was under 18 at the time of the crash. You have 120 days to notify the establishment that served alcohol to the drunk driver about any intent to pursue a case against them under the dram shop law. You have two years from the date of the accident to file a dram shop lawsuit. If you intend to pursue a dram shop lawsuit, consult with a Michigan car accident attorney to begin the process before the deadline has passed.

How a Michigan Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Can Help You Seek Compensation

The Michigan drunk driving accident lawyers at Matz Injury Law will investigate all aspects of the drunk driving accident, gather evidence, and obtain the police report of the OWI (operating while intoxicated) or DUI arrest, including the blood alcohol and toxicology reports and eyewitness statements. We will also follow the criminal case against the drunk driver. If available, we will subpoena video from the establishment that served the drunk driver alcohol, along with footage from traffic cams, 911 call recordings, and police video.

As part of building a strong legal case for you, we will also work closely with your doctor or other medical experts to understand the medical care you must receive now and in the future. Our drunk driving accident lawyers will also make a full accounting of your economic and noneconomic losses for inclusion in your claim. After we build your case, we’ll seek compensation from every possible source, including the drunk driver’s liability coverage and the bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver alcohol.

Your Michigan drunk driving accident attorneys will also keep track of communications with insurance companies and hire any necessary experts to support your claim.

What to Look for in a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

Drunk drivers put everyone on the road at risk. Their reduced reflexes and judgment while behind the wheel can critically injure or kill themselves and those around them. You deserve compensation if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a drunk-driving car accident.

Most Michigan personal injury lawyers work under a contingency fee model, meaning they charge a percentage of your settlement or court-awarded compensation. They only get paid if you win your case. Most law firms charge 33 ⅓ percent of your settlement, the legal maximum the Supreme Court allows. At Matz Injury Law, we charge 22 percent. That means more of your Michigan car accident settlement stays in your pocket to help with medical bills, property damage, or any non-economic damages and losses you’ve suffered due to the alcohol-related crash. This is why our motto is “22, not 33.”

You should look for drunk driving accident lawyers that have successfully fought for settlements for their clients and are willing to communicate with you and treat you compassionately while fighting for everything you deserve. At Matz Injury Law, we have won several DUI cases, including a $1.74 million settlement against a 19-year-old drunk driver and the fraternity where he was drinking immediately prior to a head-on collision that killed a 52-year-old husband and father of three children.

Our Michigan drunk driving accident lawyers are passionate about helping DUI victims and are highly experienced in pursuing justice in drunk driving cases. You won’t be passed off to an assistant or paralegal to manage the details associated with your case. At our law office, your personal injury attorneys will personally and actively work on all aspects of your case and will always be available to you.

Act Quickly to Protect Your Rights

In Michigan, you have only 120 days from the drunk driving accident to put the bar or liquor store on notice of a potential claim. You should act quickly to obtain representation from an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer. At Matz Injury Law, we are in our fifth decade of proudly representing Michigan drunk driving accident victims and their families. Our experienced lawyers have an office in Southfield and represent clients across Michigan, from Ann Arbor to Grand Rapids. We will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you need so you can move forward with healing. Contact us online or call 866-226-6833 today for a free case evaluation.

Frequent Answered Questions

What are the statutes of limitations for drunk driving accidents?

In Michigan, you have three years to file a lawsuit against a drunk driver or vehicle owner, with a possible extension if the victim was a minor. For dram shop lawsuits against establishments serving alcohol, you must notify them within 120 days and file the lawsuit within two years of the accident.

What if I was partially responsible for an accident involving a drunk driver?

In Michigan, if you’re partially at fault in an accident with a drunk driver, your settlement is reduced by your fault percentage, with the drunk driver responsible for the rest. For instance, being 20% at fault means your settlement is reduced by 20%, with the drunk driver covering the remaining 80%.

What kinds of compensation can I sue a drunk driver for?

In Michigan, a drunk driver is responsible for injuries to all parties involved in their DUI accident, and victims with severe injuries can file a civil lawsuit for compensation covering physical injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

What is the legal alcohal limit In michigan

In Michigan, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal for those over 21, while for those under 21 who are not legally allowed to consume alcohol, the legal limit is .02 BAC.

Recent Settlements

  • $4.15 Million Settlement in Washtenaw County

    $4,150,000 settlement on behalf of the family of a college student who was killed in a traffic crash while riding a motorcycle. The settlement came from three different insurance companies.

  • $3.45 Million Settlement In Genesee County

    $3.45 million settlement against a cement company whose truck crossed a center line causing three deaths and severely injuring a 4 year-old boy. The settlement was $450,000 in excess of available insurance.

  • $1.74 Million Settlement Awarded In Calhoun County Collision

    $1.74 million settlement against a 19 year-old driver and the fraternity where he was drinking immediately prior to a head on collision that killed a 52 year-old husband and father of 3 children.

  • $1.3 Million Settlement In Monroe County

    $1.3 million Federal District Court settlement on behalf of a mother and daughter in a car/truck collision. Mom suffered a pancreas injury but returned to full-time employment within six months; eight year old daughter suffered an aggravation of a pre-existing learning disability as well as a ruptured spleen.

  • $1 Million Settlement In Gravel

    $1 million settlement for a 52 year-old woman in a rural county who broke both ankles and suffered a retrobulbar hemorrhage of her right eye after being struck by a gravel truck.

  • $1,000,000 Settlement for Rear-end Accident

    Matz Injury Law obtained a $1,000,000 settlement for a woman in Northern Michigan who fractured both ankles as a result of being rear-ended by a gravel truck.

  • $3,450,000 Settlement From Commercial Vehicle Accident

    A settlement of $3,450,000 for a family who lost loved ones as a result of an inattentive cement truck driver.

  • $100,000 Uninsured Motorist Settlement In Detroit

    $100,000 uninsured motorist settlement (policy limit) for family of passenger killed in Detroit in suspected joyriding incident.

  • $1 Million Settlement In Oakland County Negligence Case

    $1 million settlement on behalf of a 60 year-old woman with a mild closed head injury due to County Road Commission negligence.

  • $950,000 Settlement On Behalf Of Hillsdale County mother

    $950,000 settlement on behalf of the mother of a young boy who died while a passenger in a one-vehicle crash.

  • $750,000 Settlement in Kalkaska

    $750,000 to the family of a passenger killed in a collision on an icy road.

  • $285,000 Settlement For Auto Injury Victim

    $285,000 settlement on behalf of a 52 year-old woman who suffered from fibromyalgia after hurting her shin resulting from an auto injury.

Visit Our Office

Matz Injury Law
25800 Northwestern Hwy # 575
Southfield, MI 48075
+1 (866) 226-6833
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Written By Steven Matz

Founding Shareholder

Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury.

Customer Reviews

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  • “Steve Matz deserves more than 5 stars! He went above and beyond to help me with my automobile accident/lawsuit, and stayed in constant contact with me. He cared about me as a person and how I was feeling or doing.”
    – Holly L.
  • “Mr. Matz was great helping me after my auto accident. I had no idea what was going on or where to turn but he led me the correct direction and to the right kind of doctors I needed to treat my injuries. He was there …
    – Judy W.
  • “Many thanks to Jared and the staff at Matz law! You definitely helped ease a very stressful situation. I really didn’t have to do anything, you folks did it all, which I appreciated very much. It’s never a pleasant e…
    – Kim B.
  • “If you are looking for the best attorney to handle your automobile accident claim, look no further! I have known Steve Matz for more than 20 years. He successfully represented me in 2001 then again in 2019 followin…
    – Gary C.
  • “If you’re looking for an attorney to handle your automobile accident/injury claims, then I highly recommend Steve Matz and his team! When I fractured my skull, he helped me settle my bodily injury claim in a timely m…
    – Alicia C.
  • “Following a near head on collision that left my wife with serious injuries to her leg and a head injury from the air bag that caused “instant onset dementia”, she has been deteriorating and needs constant supervision…
    – Thomas C.
  • “I was advised by Steve Matz over several days regarding a previous auto accident. He was very diligent with providing me the information I needed to be successful. I was very worried and misguided about the steps I n…
    – Domonique B.
  • “I cannot speak highly enough of Steve and his team! Everyone is so friendly and professional. Steve always kept me in the loop during the whole process and I tried to do the same. I love that Steve is such an honest …
    – Kristina K.
  • “Steve Matz was very easy to work with. His whole staff was knowledgeable and efficient. I would recommend them to anyone in need of an attorney. Thanks again Steve and staff!!”
    – Linda P.
  • “Steve was outstanding from the first telephone conversation all the way through until he settled my case at an amount that exceeded my expectations. He is a consummate professional and a compassionate attorney and I …
    – Sharyn G.

The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 331/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.

What does 22not33 mean, exactly?

We can charge 22% while virtually all other injury attorneys charge 331/3% because we are very, very, good at obtaining results for our clients.

We do not spend millions of dollars on television ads; instead, we offer a lower fee to all our clients. We do not have dozens of lower paid associates handling our work. All our clients are represented by Steven and Jared Matz. Steven Matz started the firm in 1977 and since then has dedicated his life to representing injury victims. Jared joined the firm in 2016 but grew up listening to stories, discussing theories, and generally learning at the dinner table about how to effectively and compassionately represent injury victims. Jared Matz was literally born to represent individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes.

All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee and all our cases are handled at 22%. Whether the case settles or goes through trial, the fee does not change. While our competitors make excuses as to why they charge so much, we are obtaining results for our clients at a lower fee.

At a typical television advertising law firm, your first call will be handled by a receptionist, who may refer you to an intake person, who will discuss your claim with an intake manager, who then discusses your claim with an associate, who may then report to a partner. You may never speak with the person whose name is at the top of the letterhead. At Matz Injury Law you will always speak with either Steven Matz or Jared Matz.