In 2019 impaired driving was, tragically, a factor in 42.5 percent of all Michigan traffic fatalities. In addition, alcohol- and drug-impaired 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 driver on the date of their accident.
Accident claims involving intoxicated drivers are complex. To protect your interests, you need representation by an experienced 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 we 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.
Under Michigan state law, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle with a bodily 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 offender also receives six points on their driver’s license. Those 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.
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 drunk driving accident victims.
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.
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.
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.
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
Due to the hard impact of a crash, it is common for DUI 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.
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.
All drunk driving accidents 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.
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 driver who engages in drunk driving can be held accountable in both a civil lawsuit and a criminal case. In a civil case, the victim brings a case against the driver to obtain compensation to help pay for the physical and emotional suffering they have gone through as a direct result of the 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 offender responsible for their actions. A judge will reach a verdict and determine sentencing, which can include probation, jail, restitution, fines, community service, or a combination of any of these sentences.
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, your attorney must show evidence that the 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 individual 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 accident date to inform the establishment of your intent to pursue a claim. Speak with a knowledgeable Michigan car accident lawyer to learn more about pursuing a dram shop lawsuit.
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 settlement will be reduced by 20 percent. 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.
Under Michigan’s insurance laws, the drunk driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying out 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.
In Michigan, you have three years from the date of the 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.
The attorneys at Matz Injury Law will investigate all aspects of the 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 attorneys 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 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.
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 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 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 a law firm that has successfully fought for settlements for their clients and is 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 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.
We 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.
In Michigan, you have only 120 days from the accident to put the bar or liquor store on notice of a potential claim. You should act quickly to obtain representation from an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer. At Matz Injury Law, we are in our fifth decade of proudly representing Michigan drunk driving accident victims and their families. We will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you need so you can move forward with healing. Contact us online or call 866-226-6 today for a free case evaluation.
$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 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 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 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.
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.
A settlement of $3,450,000 ($450,000 more than the insurance policy limits) for a family who lost loved ones as a result of an inattentive cement truck driver.
$100,000 uninsured motorist settlement (policy limit) for family of passenger killed in Detroit in suspected joyriding incident.
$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 the mother of a young boy who died while a passenger in a one-vehicle crash.
$750,000 to the family of a passenger killed in a collision on an icy road.
$285,000 settlement on behalf of a 52 year-old woman who suffered from fibromyalgia after hurting her shin resulting from an auto injury.
$475,000 for a 42 year old-man who suffered a neck injury as a result of an automobile crash in Oakland County.
We have earned over 300+ million dollars
for our Michigan clients.
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.
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.