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Updated October 25, 2022
Drunk driving accidents are awful, terrifying, and sometimes fatal. They are, however, avoidable. And the pain and suffering families must endure at the hands of a drunk driver are avoidable. Yet still, they happen. When they do, the victims deserve justice.
How do you determine who is liable if you or a loved one are a victim of a drunk driving accident? In Indiana, liability can fall on the drunk driver or potentially even the establishment that sold the alcohol to the drunk driver. An experienced Indiana DUI accident attorney can help you determine who acted negligently to strengthen your case.
On this page, you will learn about the dangers of drunk driving, the details of a “dram shop” action, and what to do after a drunk driving accident.
Drunk driving negatively impacts the lives of those hurt in accidents. Thanks to the Indiana University public policy institute, we now have the latest Indiana impaired driving statistics.
In 2019 alone, Indiana experienced:
Drunk driving can be fatal and changes the lives of all those involved. Reach out to the experienced car accident attorneys at WKW to file an insurance claim against a drunk driver or even take your case to court. We can help you get the justice you deserve.
Simply driving while legally intoxicated might result in license suspension and fines. Indiana drunk driving laws are strict (as they should be), and the punishments for sequential offenses get worse and worse. Drunk driving has consequences that go beyond the law: Losing loved ones is a pain unlike any other.
In addition to legal penalties, drunk driving liability laws explain what a person can do legally against a drunk driver. In the unfortunate event of an accident, a court can order the intoxicated driver to pay restitution to the victims.
Many states use the terms “driving under the influence” (DUI) or “driving while intoxicated” (DWI). Indiana uses “operating a vehicle while intoxicated” (OVWI), or simply OWI. OWIs are given to drivers who:
Those under 21 years of age can get an OWI for a BAC of .02%. The last point can often confuse drivers who get arrested and do not have a .08% BAC. An officer can still arrest a person if they see the driver has impaired thoughts or actions, even if their BAC is .04%.
Drunk drivers are a danger to themselves and all others on the road. Even so, personal injury law requires specific elements to make a claim. You need to have suffered an injury in order to sue if you’ve been hit by a drunk driver. Additionally, it must be proven that the drunk driver’s negligence caused the injury.
Drunk drivers face a litany of penalties determined by the harm caused, the potential harm caused, and by the driver’s history. The specific consequences of drunk driving in Indiana are extensive. Basic legal penalties are determined by the number of offenses the drunk driver commits.
A convicted drunk driver will face the following penalties:
These penalties are for an OVWI charge and do not include drunk driving lawsuit settlements. If a drunk driver has hit you, you may be able to make a claim against the person liable.
Tort law recognizes more than just physical injury. Any harm to your property entitles you to pursue an insurance claim against a drunk driver or even a lawsuit, if necessary.
The term “dram shop” originates in 18th-century Britain. Shops like bars and taverns would sell alcohol in “drams,” which are about ¾ of a teaspoon. Today, the term refers to any commercial business selling or distributing alcohol of any amount.
The laws revolving around dram shops do not exclusively apply to actual shops or businesses; they also apply to individuals hosting social events, for example. Some states do not have dram shop laws; Indiana is not one of them.
In Indiana, dram shop laws sometimes allow hosts and establishments to be held liable for accidents caused by an individual they served alcohol to in circumstances where they knew the individual was intoxicated but continued to serve him or her anyways.
Suppose a bartender continues to serve a drunk person alcohol. In that case, the driver and the bartender’s establishment may assume the risks of that drunken individual on the road. Victims of a potential accident may be able to file personal injury claims against not only the intoxicated driver but also potentially against the establishment that supplied the negligent driver with alcohol.
Injuries are common in drunk driving accidents. Major impacts can cause cars to spin or roll, even crash into other vehicles, like what happened after the Dodge Ram hit a car in the story at the top of the page.
Some of the most common injuries that happen in drunk driving accidents include:
Collisions are frightening because there are so many variables that enable injury to occur. A vehicle’s weight, size, and safety can impact the severity of an injury.. Seek medical attention immediately if you have been injured in a drunk driving accident.
Dram shop cases are civil cases, so the liability is expressed as financial compensation. A variety of types of damages could be compensated, including but not limited to the following:
In Indiana, the timeline to file dram shop claims is two years. Even though dram shop is an outdated term, it is still very prevalent and applicable in drunk driving lawsuit settlements and lawsuits.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to a drunk driving accident, contact an Indianapolis auto accident attorney from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. For thirty years, the lawyers at WKW have handled treacherous cases involving severe injuries sustained in car accidents. We can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.669.9983 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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