Injured By A Drunk or Impaired Driver?
Were you, a family member or friend severely injured by a drunk or impaired driver? Maybe a loved one was killed by a drunk driver and you are not sure what to do.
Sadly, drunk driving causes serious driving accidents and kills Hoosiers all too often. Goodin Abernathy LLP is experienced in handling personal injury cases for individuals injured or killed by drunk or impaired drivers. Click here to schedule your free consultation with one of our lawyers.
Drunk Driving : Criminal and Civil Penalties
Drunk and impaired driving cases involve two areas of law: criminal and civil. In the criminal setting, the State of Indiana prosecutes a case against the defendant for violating our state laws. If the defendant caused damages to a person or property, the criminal case may include requirements that the defendant pay restitution as part of their punishment. Criminal law categorizes these charges as Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated. Sometimes you hear similar phrases, like DUI or OWI. Here is some more information about Indiana’s impaired driving laws – https://www.in.gov/cji/2385.htm
Often, criminal restitution is not satisfactory and the damaged person must seek redress in a civil claim. Indiana civil law recognizes an injured person’s right to file a private or “civil” lawsuit. This is when an individual or entity opens a lawsuit for their personal interests. Generally, injury cases fall in the area of “negligence law.” The concept is easy: if a driver damages another by breaching their duty to drive safely and sober, the injured party has a negligence claim against the drunk driver. This also applies to a “Dram Shop” claim. Indiana law prohibits bars, restaurants, bar tenders and hosts from over serving guests. If a guest or invitee exhibits signs of intoxication, the law prevents these servers from offering and supplying them with even more alcohol or inebriants.
Tracking Down the Drunk Hit & Run Driver – Then Prosecuting the Bar
The Goodin Abernathy LLP law firm is experienced handling hit and run cases. In one tragic instance, a young, vibrant girl was riding her bike along the road when a drunk driver hit and killed her. We first worked with the police to search for and identify the driver. Damaged car parts at the scene were used to target the color, make and model of his vehicle. Local auto repair shops were notified and sure enough, the driver took his car in for repair. The police were alerted and he was arrested. We represented the girl’s family and her Estate for a separate civil case against the drunk driver. Goodin Abernathy LLP collected the driver’s bank records and noticed payment to a bar on the accident date. More discovery showed the bar hosted a football party and the driver was there all day – into the night. After mid-day drinking from the open Bloody Mary bar, the driver stayed longer into the evening for more cocktails. Goodin Abernathy then made a legal claim against the bar under the Dram Shop Act. The evidence demonstrated the bar negligently, if not recklessly, over served the driver.
The drunk driver made a selfish, indulgent mistake that killed a beautiful young girl. The bar, that should have known better after training and knowing the regulations, ignored the law and over-served a motorist. No money could make up for the girl’s death. But we worked for more than money- Goodin Abernathy LLP worked to restore some sense of justice for the girl’s family and loved ones. Their case was personal to our firm and that’s how we approach each case we take on.
Your Personal Injury Case Is Personal to Us
Your personal injury case is personal to us too. Goodin Abernathy LLP prosecutes injury cases for clients we care about. In our firm, you are not treated like a number and passed around from one “team” to another. You don’t contact a call center or speak with an out of town, national call line. Instead, you meet with the actual attorneys, their paralegals and staff. Call us before that drunk driver and bar get away with civil and criminal crimes.
Drunk Driving Terms and Info
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%. The “BAC” means 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 methods used by law enforcement officers include breath testing devices known as the roadside portable breathalyzer or the certified breathalyzer machine. These devices both measure breath alcohol. 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.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports:
• Drunk driving is often a symptom of a larger problem: alcohol misuse and abuse. https://www.nhtsa.gov/
• 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 https://www.responsibility.org/indiana-launches-new-lifeline-law-public-awareness-campaign/).
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.
Attorneys with a Focus on Personal Injury