Traffic accidents can cause substantial physical and financial harm to the victims. It is even more frustrating for the victim to find out that the at-fault party was drunk. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration reports that about 28 people are killed in drunk-driving accidents daily in the United States. To recover damages, the victim may file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party to claim compensation.
Determination of Liability in a Drunk Driving Crash
In a personal injury claim for an auto accident, the victim has to establish negligence on the part of the at-fault party. The victim must satisfy the three basic conditions for proving negligence:
Duty of Care
All drivers on the road have a duty of care towards others on the road. This includes following traffic laws and driving safely.
Breach of Duty
Failing to follow traffic laws, reckless driving, and drunk driving are all examples of breaches of such duty on the road.
You need to show that the breach of one’s duty of care caused the accident. Here, it must be shown that impaired driving caused the accident.
The fact that the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol in itself may be enough to establish negligence. Waiting until the at-fault driver has pleaded guilty or is convicted under DUI charges is a wise choice. A verdict or citation stating the other party was, in fact, guilty of drunk driving solidifies the victim’s claim. The judge will be more sympathetic towards the victim if the at-fault party has already been convicted.
Difference Between Civil Claims and Criminal Charges
It is important to understand that a drunk driving accident claim is different from a regular auto accident claim. This is because there is a criminal element attached to DUI or driving under the influence cases. The victim can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party to claim compensation. He or she may report the incident to the police as well. However, once the accident has been reported to the police, it is up to the appropriate law enforcement authority to investigate the matter and file DUI charges against the at-fault driver.
The victim cannot pursue criminal charges against the at-fault driver. However, the victim may be required to give a statement to the police or the court. A civil action in the form of a personal injury lawsuit may be simultaneously pursued by the victim against the at-fault party.
How an Indiana Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Can Help
It is important to remember that the law enforcement agency will mostly work towards establishing criminality and not negligence. That is why the victim must do their own investigation to collect the necessary evidence for a personal injury claim.
This is where an Indiana drunk driving accident attorney can help. An attorney will work towards collecting evidence to prove negligence on part of the at-fault party. This may include hiring accident reconstruction experts, talking to the eyewitnesses, and even getting a copy of the police report which may also provide the at-fault driver’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). This information will allow your attorney to build a strong and fair case for you and help you get the compensation that you deserve.
Contact an Indiana Car Accident Attorney
If you suffered injuries in a drunk driving accident in Indiana, reach out to our team of drunk driving accident attorneys at Stewart & Stewart. Our team of attorneys will work tirelessly to get you the compensation that you deserve.