According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,839 people lost their lives in car accidents that were found to be caused by an impaired driver during 2009 in the United States, the most recent year such statistics are available. Overall, these fatalities accounted for about 32 percent of the total motor vehicle accident-related deaths in the U.S., which numbered 33,808.
In these accidents, approximately 67 percent of the fatalities, or 7,281, were the impaired drivers themselves. The remaining deaths consisted of motor vehicle occupants at 27 percent, or 2,891, and nonoccupants at six percent, or 667. Thousands more people were injured in accidents involving an impaired driver, with many of the victims injured seriously or even catastrophically.
While alcohol-impaired vehicle accidents declined in 2009 by 7.4 in 2008, when 11,711 people were killed in such accidents, these statistics are still alarming. On average, an alcohol-impaired driving fatality occurred approximately every 48 minutes during 2009.
Injuries in Drunk Driving Accidents
Drivers that get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol can cause serious or even fatal accidents, as the above statistics show. Often, impaired drivers cause widespread destruction - they can injure pedestrians or bicyclists on the road, collide with other motor vehicles, or cause property damage in other ways. Since intoxicated drivers aren't fully aware of their speed or their actions, often drunk driving accidents involve head-on collisions, which can be deadly. As a result, the injuries suffered in these types of accidents can be serious or even fatal.
Some common injuries suffered by victims of accidents caused by impaired drivers include but are not limited to the following:
- Broken bones;
- Brain injuries;
- Neck and back injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries; and more.
It can be difficult to determine the full financial impact of injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident since it can be hard to see how long the injuries will last, how severe they are, how they will impact the victim’s life, and more. These reasons and more are why it is critical for anyone who has been involved in an accident caused by an impaired driver to consult with a skilled attorney to find out more about the legal rights given to them in such situations.
Holding a Negligent Drunk Driver Accountable
Anyone who has been injured in a drunk driving accident in Michigan would be well-advised to consult with a Southfield drunk driving accident victim lawyer to begin building a strong case against the at-fault driver. An attorney can also look into whether Michigan's Dram Shop Act applies, under which a restaurant or other establishment can be held accountable if it is found they knowingly sold the driver alcohol, despite the fact the person appeared to already be impaired.
At Lipton Law, our Southfield drunk driving accident victim lawyers are dedicated to obtaining justice for injured victims and the family members of those killed in accidents involving an intoxicated driver. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a drunk or otherwise negligent driver, contact our Michigan personal injury law offices at 800-CAR-CRASH to find out more about the legal options available to you, based upon the specifics of your circumstances.