Yes, a passenger can sue a drunk driver for personal injury after a rollover crash if the following applies:
- The passenger was in the vehicle that the intoxicated driver was driving or the one that driver hit; and
- The passenger was injured.
You may also have a dram shop lawsuit against a bar or restaurant that served the alcohol to the driver before the rollover. This means you could get money settlements from both the drunk driver and the bar or restaurant. Our car accident lawyers have won settlements over a million dollars for clients injured in these kinds of crashes. You can contact them using the form below.
Does There Have to Be a DUI or DWI Conviction for a Passenger to Have a Lawsuit against the Drunk Driver?
No, the impaired driver does not need to have a DUI or DWI conviction for a passenger to win your case, but a conviction can make it easier to win.
If someone violates state criminal laws by driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol (referred to as drunk driving, DUI and DWI), it is generally prima facia evidence of negligence in a civil case—a rollover accident case for damages (compensation). This does not mean that someone who is injured by an intoxicated driver will automatically win a lawsuit, but it does mean that the person suing has a good case. If the driver has not been charged or convicted of drunk driving, the injured person may still have a claim under civil law and be able to seek monetary damages. Evidence of the intoxication will have to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. A good rollover accident lawyer will be able to present a case successfully whether there is a criminal conviction or not.
Impairment can result from any blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .00. Even a small amount of alcohol will negatively affect your judgment, muscular coordination, and vision, making you more likely to lose control of your vehicle. This is important legally for issues such as fault and amount of compensation.
What if the Passenger Had Been Drinking Before the Rollover Crash?
A passenger who was also intoxicated may have a personal injury case. For example, two friends travel together to a bar and consume alcoholic beverages. If one of them gets behind the wheel to take the other home and crashes on the way, the friend that is the passenger may have personal injury claims against both the driver and, depending on the specific facts of the case, the bar. If the passenger does not survive, his or her family may have a wrongful death claim.
Punitive Damages against DUI or DWI Driver
In a civil action against an intoxicated driver, the injured party can ask for punitive damages, which, depending on the circumstances, can be significant. For example, our lawyers won $6,000,000.00 on behalf of a 26 year-old female passenger whose right leg was traumatically amputated when the motorcycle on which she was a passenger was struck by a drunk driver. Evidence of past criminal convictions for drunk driving or criminal vehicular homicide or injury is admissible into evidence in many states. Generally, if there are past criminal convictions for either DUI or vehicular homicide, it is more likely that punitive damages will be awarded in the rollover accident lawsuit.
Our car accident lawyers have offices are in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We have obtained money settlements for injured people throughout Minnesota and in several other states.