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What You Should Know About Drunk Driving Accidents and Indiana Dram Shop Laws

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January 6, 2017 | Auto Accidents |


Drunk driving accidents are awful and unpredictable. If you or a loved one are victims of a drunk driving accident, how do you know who’s liable? In Indiana, liability can fall on either the drunk driver or the dram shop who sold the alcohol to the drunk driver.

Drunk Driving Laws

Drunk drivers face a litany of penalties determined by the harm caused, by the potential harm caused, and also by the driver’s history. The specific legal consequences of drunk driving are quite lengthy, but basic legal penalties include:

  • Misdemeanor to felony charges
  • Fines between $500 and $10,000
  • License suspension from 90 days to 2 years
  • Jail or prison sentences ranging from 10 days to 20 years

Merely getting behind the wheel of an automobile while legally intoxicated can result in both 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 doesn’t just have legal ramifications. Death caused from drunk driving causes tremendous emotional trauma to everybody involved—loss of 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, the drunk driver can be ordered by a court to pay restitution to the victims.

Dram Shop Laws

A dram shop is any entity selling or giving alcohol. 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. However, some states do not have dram shop laws.

Indiana Dram Shop Laws

In Indiana, a dram shop can be held liable for accidents caused by an individual they served alcohol to. These laws help keep the roads safer and help deter irresponsible serving habits.

If a bartender continues to serve an obviously drunken person alcohol, the risks of that drunken individual on the road are assumed by both the driver and the bartender’s establishment. Not only can victims of the possible accident file personal injury claims against the drunk driver, but they can also file a dram shop claim against the establishment that supplied the negligent driver the alcohol. However, even if the drunk driver is injured in the accident, they cannot file a dram shop claim against the bar.

How Dram Shop Cases Work

In Indiana, the timeline to file dram shop claims is two years. Dram shop cases are civil cases, so liability is expressed as financial compensation. Things such as lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, or damaged property can be reimbursed in these suits.

Contact an Automobile Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of 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 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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