Last month a drunk driver drove into a fuel tanker truck as it backed out of a Mobile gas station in Pontiac. Her decision to drive drunk could leave her on the hook for a lot of damage.
Just after 4:00 a.m. a 31 year old woman drove her Mazda 6 into the side of a fuel tanker truck in Pontiac, Michigan. She and her passenger were seriously injured, but luckily, the 7,400 gallons of fuel in the tanker did not explode.
The accident happened at the Mobil gas station on North Perry in Pontiac, Michigan. The driver appeared to have been drinking. She and her passenger were taken to McLaren Oakland in Pontiac. She was in critical condition. Her passenger was in serious condition.
While this driver’s medical expenses and lost wages will be covered by her no-fault auto insurance, her decision to drive drunk could still cost her. That’s on top of possible criminal charges for operating while intoxicated resulting in a serious impairment of a body function – a five-year felony with fines of up to $5,000.00.
At-Fault in a No Fault State
Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance law prevents at-fault drivers from being sued for costs covered by the no-fault auto insurance. But when a person is seriously injured, like this driver’s passenger, there is still an opportunity for a Third Party lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
In a Third Party lawsuit, the drunk driver could be required to pay for the pain, suffering, and disability she caused when she decided to drive intoxicated and hit the tanker truck. She could also be on the hook for the passenger’s lost wages and his family’s loss of support beyond the three-year no-fault limit.
On top of the personal injury claims, an at-fault driver can also face restitution in the criminal courts and a lawsuit in civil court for property damage caused by her accident. Reports don’t say what happened to the tanker truck, but if it sustained serious damage, the drunk driver could have to pay for its repair. In other, similar accidents, drivers have even had to pay for damage to the roads caused by the tanker’s contents.
Choosing to drive drunk is never a good idea. Besides putting your own life at risk, you could be writing a death sentence for your passenger friends or the stranger driving next to you on the road. On top of the human cost, you could also face thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of dollars when you are found at fault for others’ injuries or property damage.
That’s why you should always use a designated driver or public transportation after you drink. The cost is just not worth the risk.
David Christensen is an auto accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He helps the victims of drunk drivers recover their damages from insurance companies and at-fault drivers. If you or someone you know has been hit by a drunk driver, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.