Drunk drivers recklessly endanger the lives of everyone else on the road. They decide to drive in an intoxicated state, making it difficult or impossible to safely control their vehicles.

If a drunk driver caused your recent car accident in Minnesota, learn your rights to better protect yourself. You may be able to pursue legal recourse against the drunk driver.

Filing a damage claim

Minnesota law allows you to file a civil claim for your monetary losses after a drunk driving crash. You may have grounds to bring a negligence-based lawsuit against the drunk driver. If you or an attorney can prove that the driver was under the influence at the time of the accident and caused your crash, and that you suffered damages as a result, you will have met the elements of an injury lawsuit. You could recover compensation for the following damages:

  • Repairs to your vehicle
  • Expenses for medical treatments
  • Wages you lost from missed work
  • Physical and emotional damages

A drunk driving accident case could also result in punitive damages. Minnesota Statutes section 549.20 states that a judge may grant punitive damages in a civil action if the plaintiff’s side of the case can demonstrate evidence that clearly and convincingly shows the driver intentionally disregarded the safety of others.

Cooperating with a criminal case

Drunk driving is both an act of recklessness and a breach of Minnesota law. The state’s drunk driving law makes it illegal to operate any vehicle – including boats and bicycles – with 0.08% or more alcohol concentration in the blood. The penalties for a DWI offense in Minnesota may include jail time, driver’s license suspension, legal fees, court costs and other fines.

While it is up to the city of Vadnais Heights to prosecute a drunk driver criminally, you could play a role in the driver’s conviction by cooperating with the investigation and trial. Both a civil and a criminal case could help you hold the at-fault drunk driver accountable for his or her actions.