Indianapolis Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Helping Victims of Drunk Driving Crashes
Alcohol-impaired drivers in Indiana cause thousands of collisions every year, resulting in well over a thousand injuries and around a hundred deaths annually in the state. The attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP know the tragic implications of these statistics all too well. As Fatal Alcohol Crash Team Prosecutors in Indianapolis, Bradley Keffer and Tom Hirschauer were on the scene at countless collisions, investigating the crash in preparation for prosecuting the drunk drivers in court. If a drunk driver hit and injured you or a member of your family, the Indianapolis drunk driving accident lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP provide unmatched representation in holding the driver accountable and making sure you are compensated for your harm.
What makes drunk driving car accidents especially dangerous?
The reasons drunk driving car accidents happen in the first place are also the reasons they often cause such catastrophic injury or wrongful death to the people they hit. Intoxication dampens critical driving skills like reflexes, attention and judgment. Drunk drivers may not realize they are about to hit another car until it is too late to avoid a wreck, and they may not take any steps to avoid a crash or reduce their speed, which could lessen the force of the impact. Common drunk driving behaviors that cause head-on collisions and other severe crashes include:
- Weaving or drifting out of their lane into oncoming traffic
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Driving exceedingly fast
- Falling asleep at the wheel or blacking out
- Failing to notice pedestrians in the road or stopped cars ahead
Will the insurance company cover a drunk driving accident?
It’s a common misconception that car insurance only covers “accidental” or “nonintentional” behavior, so it doesn’t cover accidents caused by drunk drivers. Even though an individual may have chosen to drink and drive, they didn’t intentionally cause the accident. Auto liability insurance should cover any crash caused by a driver’s negligent or wrongful behavior, whether that be speeding, distracted driving, or driving while intoxicated.
Does it matter if the police arrested the driver for DUI?
If the driver was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), official evidence of the driver’s alcohol level and a drunk driving conviction could be very helpful in proving a civil case for damages. However, even if the driver wasn’t arrested, charged or convicted of DUI, facts that show the driver had been drinking can still be used in your case. Criminal prosecutors have to meet a much higher standard of proof than civil plaintiff’s lawyers, and criminal defendants have constitutional rights that don’t apply to civil cases. If evidence shows the driver who hit you had been drinking, this is very powerful evidence in a civil case, regardless of whether the driver was arrested for DUI.
Does Indiana law allow for punitive damages against a drunk driver?
Most often, damages awarded in an insurance settlement or jury verdict are compensatory damages, meant to compensate the crash victim for the harm they endured, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some cases, however, it may be appropriate to assess punitive or exemplary damages against the driver. These damages are reserved for instances when it is necessary to punish the driver for especially outrageous conduct that caused the accident or to make an example of the driver, so society understands the consequences of such actions. Examples might include driving at an incredibly high speed or driving while heavily intoxicated.
Punitive damages in Indiana are limited to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $50,000, whichever is greater. Twenty-five percent of the award goes to the victim, while the rest is deposited in the Indiana violent crime victims’ compensation fund. Notably, the plaintiff has to prove the suitability of punitive damages by “clear and convincing” evidence, which is a higher standard than the “preponderance of the evidence” required to prove other aspects of a car accident case. The experienced alcohol-related crash attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP understand how to put together a strong case for punitive damages where appropriate and always pursue the maximum amount of damages for crash victims.
Can the bar that served the driver be liable to the accident victim?
Under Indiana “dram shop laws,” you can hold the bar or restaurant liable for furnishing alcohol to a person who was visibly intoxicated when that intoxication was the proximate cause of the crash. Your lawyer will have to prove that the server had “actual knowledge” the person was visibly intoxicated, in addition to proving that the intoxication caused the injury or death. Our experienced alcohol crash attorneys go after all responsible parties in the interests of justice, accountability and the maximum in compensation for our injured clients.
Call Leading Indianapolis Alcohol Crash Lawyers After a Drunk Driving Car Accident
If a drunk driver caused severe injury or worse to you or a loved one, take your case to a law firm with experienced fatal alcohol crash prosecutors. Call Keffer Hirschauer LLP in Indianapolis for immediate assistance.