Yes. A Passenger Can Sue a Drunk Driver for Injuries in a Rollover Crash.
In order to sue a drunk driver after a rollover crash, you need evidence to prove the following:
- The passenger was in the vehicle that the intoxicated driver was driving or the vehicle that the driver hit
- 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 hundreds of millions of dollars for clients injured in these kinds of crashes.
Does a Drunk Driver Need to be Convicted for a DUI or DWI for a Passenger to Have a Case?
No, a drunk driver does not need to be convicted for a DUI or DWI for a passenger to have a case, but a conviction does make it easier to win.
When a driver violates state criminal laws by driving while under the influence (also referred to as “drunk driving,” “DUI,” and “DWI”), it is considered evidence of negligence in a rollover accident lawsuit. This does not mean that someone who is injured by an intoxicated driver will automatically win their 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. A good 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 judgment, muscle coordination, and vision, which makes it easier to lose control of a vehicle. This is important legally for issues such as fault and the amount of compensation.
What if the Passenger Had Been Drinking Before the Rollover Crash?
A passenger who was also intoxicated may have a 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 who 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, their family may have a wrongful death claim.
Punitive Damages against DUI or DWI Driver
In a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit against an intoxicated driver, the injured party can ask for punitive damages, which can be significant.
For example, our lawyers won a $6 million recovery for a 26-year-old woman who was a passenger in a motorcycle crash. Our client’s right leg was traumatically amputated after the motorcycle was struck by a drunk driver.
Evidence of past criminal convictions for drunk driving or criminal vehicular homicide or injury is considered 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.