Drunk driving causes serious injury and even death to Hoosiers too often. Goodin Abernathy LLP is experienced in handling personal injury cases on behalf of individuals injured or killed by drunk or impaired drivers. Click here to schedule your free consultation with one of our lawyers.
Drunk Driving is Illegal
Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OVWI) is the Indiana legal term for drunk driving. It is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08%. BAC is the amount of alcohol in an individual’s body, measured by the weight of the alcohol in a volume of blood. The BAC limit determines the maximum amount of alcohol that can be consumed before it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle on a public road.
There are a number of ways to test an individual’s BAC. The most common method used by law enforcement officers is the breath testing device, which measures the alcohol level in the breath from the lungs. BAC can also be determined by drawing blood and measuring the amount of alcohol in the blood itself.
Blood alcohol concentration is directly correlated with the degree of impairment an individual displays when driving after drinking. Although an individual may not exhibit gross signs of inebriation, he/she is nevertheless impaired, even at a BAC level lower than that allowed by most state laws.
Did You Know?
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports:
- Drunk driving is often a symptom of a larger problem: alcohol misuse and abuse.
- Alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes cost more than an estimated $37 billion annually.
- In 2012, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes – one every 51 minutes.
There were 228 Total Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities in Indiana in 2012. Of those, 22 were caused by impaired drivers under the age of 21. (See http://responsibility.org/state-facts/indiana).
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) data shows that among those injured in drunk driving collisions in 2011 in Indiana:
- 56 percent were impaired drivers
- 19 percent were unimpaired drivers
- 14 percent were the passengers of impaired drivers
- 11 percent were likely passengers of the unimpaired driver, pedestrians and bicyclists.
As the data suggests, often it is the drunk driver themselves who are injured in single car accidents. However, nearly half of those injured in drunk driving accidents in Indiana are not the drunk drivers but often their innocent victims.
Your Personal Injury Case
In Indiana, drunk drivers are subject to punitive damages (designed to punish the driver for their dangerous decisions). However, insurance policies typically exclude payment for punitive damages which can lead to personal financial responsibility of the driver. But what happens if the driver is uninsured or underinsured and they don’t have the assets to pay for catastrophic injuries? In certain instances, the person or establishment that served the alcohol to the driver can be held responsible for injuries or death caused by that driver. This is known as Dram Shop Liability. Issues of liability and insurance coverage can be quite complex requiring a skilled legal team.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a drunk or impaired driver, you need to seek immediate legal assistance. The injury attorneys at Goodin Abernathy have handled numerous cases involving injuries or death that occurred as the result of drunk or impaired driving.