The costs involved in being in an accident with a driver who was under the influence can be significant. Treatment for your injuries and repairs for any property damage are costly, but you might also suffer time off work or even temporary or permanent disability. To fight for compensation from those at fault, you need an Indiana drunk driving accident attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP.
The attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are skilled litigators with years of experience trying auto accident cases. Their particular training on fatal accident cases and deep experience fighting for the rights of their clients give them an edge over many other lawyers. To fight for your right to compensation for the injuries and other losses you sustained because of someone else’s impaired driving, you need the experience and tenacious representation found at Keffer Hirschauer LLP.
Why an Experienced Indiana Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Is Important
Every day, about 28 people in the United States die in drunk driving crashes. In 2016, more than one million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. In Indiana alone, alcohol-impaired drivers cause thousands of collisions every year, resulting in well over a thousand injuries and around a hundred deaths annually in the state. Those injured in such accidents may not realize they have a right to fight for compensation for their injuries.
On the roadway, you can sometimes identify an impaired driver by observing irregularities in the other driver’s operation of a vehicle. For example, some common drunk driving behaviors that cause head-on collisions and other severe crashes include:
- Weaving or drifting out of the lane into oncoming traffic
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Driving exceedingly fast
- Falling asleep at the wheel or blacking out
- Failing to notice pedestrians in the road or stopped cars ahead
If you are injured in an Indiana drunk driving accident caused by an impaired driver, you can file an insurance claim. However, pursuing that claim and your right to compensation sometimes requires more drastic action. But you may need to fight for your right to compensation, especially if the other driver is uninsured or your insurer does not offer sufficient compensation for your injuries. In those cases, you can rely on an Indiana drunk driving accident attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP to have the skill and experience required to evaluate your rights and potential damages award.
What Constitutes Drunk Driving in Indiana?
In Indiana, a person can be found guilty of OVWI if they are operating a vehicle and meet any one of the following:
- A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more (or .02% or more if you’re under the age of 21)
- Any amount of schedule I or II controlled substances in your system
- Thoughts and actions are impaired by drugs or alcohol
Operating a vehicle while intoxicated can lead to dire consequences, and a person who is injured by a drunk driver could be entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic losses, including:
- Medical bills
- Mental health treatment
- Funeral expenses
- Property loss
- Car repairs
- Car replacement
- Car rental
- Rehabilitation or continuing treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
If you’re looking for a drunk driving accident lawyer in Indianapolis, Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you deal with the consequences of the accident and fight for damages for your injuries.
Does It Matter if the Police Arrested the Driver for DUI?
Impaired driving can result in criminal charges. If the impaired driver in your crash was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) as a result of that accident, official evidence of the driver’s alcohol level and a drunk driving conviction could be very helpful in proving your right to compensation a civil case for damages.
Even if the driver wasn’t arrested, charged, or convicted of DUI, facts that show the driver had been drinking can still be used in your case. Criminal prosecutors must meet a much higher standard of proof than required in a civil case, and criminal defendants have constitutional rights that don’t apply to civil cases. If evidence shows the driver who hit you had been drinking, this is very powerful evidence in your civil case for damages regardless of whether the driver was arrested for or convicted of DUI.
If you work with an Indiana drunk driving accident attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP, you lawyer will capably collect all relevant evidence and argue persuasively why it supports a significant judgment in your favor.
What Kinds of Damages Can an Indiana Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Get for You?
Most often, damages awarded in an insurance settlement or jury verdict are compensatory or actual damages meant to compensate the crash victim for the harm endured. Actual damages can include amounts economic losses such as medical bills and lost wages. They can also include non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
In some cases, it may also be appropriate to assess exemplary or punitive damages against the driver and, possibly, anyone else who contributed to the cause of the accident. These damages are reserved for instances when it is necessary to punish the driver for especially outrageous conduct in causing the accident. Punitive damages may also be awarded to make an example of the driver, so society understands the consequences of such actions. Examples might include driving at an incredibly high speed or driving while heavily intoxicated.
Punitive damages in Indiana are limited to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $50,000, whichever is greater. Of the total punitive damages award, the victim receives 25 percent and the rest is deposited in the Indiana Violent crime Victim Compensation Fund. Notably, the plaintiff has to prove the suitability of punitive damages by clear and convincing evidence, which is a higher standard than the preponderance of the evidence required to prove other aspects of a car accident case.
For experienced drunk driving accident lawyers in Indianapolis, you can rely on Keffer Hirschauer LLP to have your back. We understand how to put together a strong case for punitive damages where appropriate and always pursue the maximum amount of damages for crash victims.
Can the Bar that Served the Driver Be Liable to the Accident Victim?
Under Indiana Code § 7.1-5-10-15.5, often called the Indiana dram shop laws, you may be able to show that the bar or restaurant that served the driver who caused your accident should be found liable for damages as well. Specifically, you must show that the driver who was visibly intoxicated when the bar or restaurant provided the driver alcohol and that the driver’s intoxication was the proximate cause of the crash.
At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, our experience working as Fatal Alcohol Crash Team leaders and trying drunk driving cases at the Marion County Prosecutors Office and the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s Office give us special insight into how to effectively prosecute your claims, allowing us to pursue the maximum in compensation for our injured clients.
Call a Leading Indiana Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
If an impaired driver caused severe injury or worse to you or a loved one, you need an experienced Indiana drunk driving accident attorney to help protect your right to compensation and to hold the responsible driver accountable. The attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP have the litigation skills, crash analysis experience, and thorough understanding of drunk driving personal injury law to help you. For a free consultation on how we can help protect your rights, call 317-455-4043 or complete our online contact form.