There’s no excuse for drunk driving – not Notre Dame losing a game, not a bad day at work, nothing. Even so, there are hundreds of drivers in South Bend and the surrounding counties who opt to put you and your loved ones in harm’s way after a drink or three. If you get into an accident with these negligent drivers, you can lose everything.
There are, however, steps you can take to get back on your feet after an accident with a drunk driver. Vaughan & Vaughan can connect you with a drunk driving crash lawyer in South Bend who can help you hold a drunk driver civilly accountable for your losses. Those efforts can help you pay your bills and get back on the road.
You have a limited amount of time to act. Get in touch with a South Bend car accident lawyer for legal support today.
Getting Your Life Back After a Drunk Driving Accident
You cannot initiate a criminal case against the party responsible for your drunk driving accident. Only the state can charge an offending driver with criminal misconduct. This doesn’t mean that a drunk driver didn’t break the law when they got behind the wheel of a car. Instead, it means that while the state pursues a criminal case, you can pursue a civil one.
Civil and criminal cases can operate concurrently in an effort to hold a negligent party accountable for gross misconduct. Our personal injury lawyers in South Bend can keep their ears to the ground as a criminal case progresses. Should you choose to file a personal injury claim against the party liable for your losses, a criminal court’s ruling can impact your case.
Specifically, a guilty verdict can serve as proof of negligence in civil court. That proof of negligence can make it easier for you to secure the financial support you need to recover from your drunk driving losses.
Filing an Insurance Claim
You are not obligated to take civil action against the drunk driver responsible for your accident. If the driver has state minimum liability coverage or more insurance, you may have the right to file a claim for support with their provider.
That said, insurance claims adjusters aren’t keen to own up to their clients’ wrongs. Many claims adjusters will attempt to reframe your accident to make you look partially at fault for your own losses.
What can you do in the face of this bad-faith behavior? When in doubt, call for backup. Our drunk driving accident lawyers in South Bend can mitigate a provider’s bad faith behavior. We can also help you navigate the question of filing an insurance claim when a driver is under or uninsured.
How to File a Drunk Driving Accident Claim
If you decide that you want to take civil action against the party liable for your drunk driving accident, you must:
Outline Your Right to Civil Action
Your drunk driving case only moves forward if you can prove that you have the right to civil action. A guilty verdict in criminal court can help you meet Indiana’s burden of proof, but before that comes, you need to present your own argument for your right to action. You can defend your claim by bringing forward evidence identifying a liable party, including:
- Video footage of your accident
- Statements from bystanders
- The results of blood alcohol content tests
- Expert witness testimony
Our team can alternatively gather this evidence for you while you recover from drunk driving injuries. You can trust us to keep you up to date on discoveries we make relevant to your case.
Calculate the Value of Your Drunk Driving Accident Losses
Personal injury claims primarily help you get the financial support you need to recover from drunk driving losses. You can’t demand compensation without knowing the value of your case, though.
When you first sit down with a South Bend drunk driving accident lawyer, you can outline what losses you want to include in your claim. Our team can then expand on those losses, invoking economic and non-economic damages that you may have the right to, depending on your circumstances. We can then find the sum of your due damages and make your demands.
The damages that you can come away from a drunk driving accident case with can include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
- Emergency medical care
- Long-term medical care
- Essential surgeries and treatments
- Pain management
- Property damage
- Lost wages
File Within Your Deadline
Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4 delineates the last possible date you can file for personal injury damages. You must bring a drunk driving accident claim forward by the second anniversary of your accident. If you miss this deadline, Indiana’s civil courts can deny you your right to action.
Unfortunately, that two-year deadline isn’t always easy to stay ahead of, particularly as you go back to work and recover from serious injuries. That’s why you have experienced lawyers on your side, though. Our team can manage an investigation into your losses as well as the compilation of your claim without compromising your right to get back on your feet.
Vaughan & Vaughan Advocates for Survivors Throughout Indiana
While you can’t take criminal action against the drunk driver who caused your recent accident, you can still go to court. Indiana law gives you the right to file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for your drunk driving accident. Those efforts can win you the financial support you need to get back on your feet after a collision.
Whether you want to go to trial or negotiate for a settlement, you can count on South Bend drunk driving accident lawyers to stand by your side. You can reach out to Vaughan & Vaughan today to learn more about the services we offer survivors like you. Don’t let your right to a case pass you by. Contact us to book a FREE case evaluation now.