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Michigan bar settles wrongful death suit after fatal crash

In Michigan, when someone is injured or killed by a drunk driver, it is possible for the victim or his or her survivors to file a lawsuit against the driver and/or any establishment that may have over-served the driver. This can result in compensation for medical or funeral expenses, lost income, and other costs of drunk driving car accidents.

In a wrongful death lawsuit that was recently settled, the survivors of an 18-year-old woman who was killed in a drunk driving accident in Holland, Michigan, last year had sued the bar where the drunk driver had been drinking that night.

That accident took place just over one year ago when the woman's car was broadsided by a car driven by a 21-year-old man. She died at the scene of the accident. The 21-year-old was charged with felony driving while intoxicated causing death and he pleaded guilty.

He was sentenced to three years in prison.

The victim's mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit following the tragedy, and the drunk driver's insurance company has now agreed to pay a $100,000 settlement and the bar that allegedly over-served the driver agreed to pay a $400,000 settlement.

Under Michigan state law, bars and establishments many not serve alcohol to people who are visibly intoxicated.

In this case, two hours after the fatal collision the drunk driver's blood alcohol content was still about twice the legal limit.

This case illustrates the legal recourse that is available after a family suffers a wrongful death. Of course, absolutely no amount of money can make up for a life lost. Such settlements are merely a way to ensure that the sudden death does not cause unnecessary financial burdens to the victim's loved ones, as well as to hold negligent people and establishments accountable for their actions.

Source: Holland Sentinel, "Fatal drunken driving crash suit settled for $500,000," Peg McNichol, March 6, 2013

  • To learn more about wrongful death law in Michigan, please visit our law firm's Wrongful Death page.

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