Everyone knows that drinking and driving (DUI) is not only illegal but incredibly dangerous. Yet there are still Indiana residents who get behind the wheel after a raucous game day or sunny Saturday afternoon. You don’t deserve to face the consequences of someone else’s bad decisions, and yet you may find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a DUI accident.
Fortunately, you have the right to reach out to an attorney after a DUI accident. You can work with a drunk driving accident lawyer in Kokomo to take up a civil case against the party responsible for your losses. A case through Vaughan & Vaughan can see you compensated for the losses forced upon you by someone else’s roadway misconduct.
How to React to a Drunk Driving Accident
If you get into an accident with a drunk driver, stay at the scene of your accident. Ensure that you, any passengers in your car, and nearby bystanders are as safe as possible. If you have the training to do so, treat any wounds as effectively as you can. Ask that someone on the scene call first responders or call 911 yourself.
While it is in your best interest to have the intoxicated driver stay on the scene, you should not attempt to combat or otherwise corral them. If the driver attempts to leave the scene, do not pursue them. Take down their license plate and make sure you can describe them to police officers.
You are not responsible for someone else’s poor roadway behavior. Take care of yourself and your passengers until first responders arrive. Then let police officers and related parties do their jobs. Once you’re stabilized, and out of harm’s way, you can consider your next steps.
Criminal Drunk Driving Cases Versus Civil Drunk Driving Cases
Drunk driving accidents constitute a violation of Indiana’s roadway laws. The person liable for your drunk driving accident may subsequently appear in criminal court. You, however, do not have the right to initiate a criminal case against the offending party, even as the victim of that party’s bad behavior.
Instead, you have the right to pursue a civil case against the party responsible for your accident. That civil case allows you to demand damages equivalent to or greater than the value of your drunk driving accident-related losses.
That said, if the state initiates a criminal case against the driver responsible for your losses, make sure you keep up with that criminal case’s progress. A criminal conviction in a DUI case can constitute proof of negligence in your civil case.
In other words, you can submit a criminal conviction to a civil judge and more readily secure the financial support you deserve after an accident. A drunk driving accident attorney in Kokomo, IN, can keep track of criminal proceedings on your behalf.
How to File a Drunk Driving Accident Claim
Choosing to take civil action against the party liable for your DUI accident allows you to demand compensation for your accident-related losses. That said, you can’t initiate a case without investigating the nature of your accident first.
You are responsible for filing a civil claim against the party you believe to be liable for your accident. That civil claim needs to address:
Proof of Liability
You have an obligation to uphold a burden of proof when bringing a DUI case before a civil judge. That burden of proof demands that you not only name the person liable for your losses but also submit evidence of the named party’s fault. The evidence you can bring forward to establish liability can include:
- Video or photo footage of your DUI accident
- Results from a breathalyzer or other sobriety tests
- Input from expert witnesses
- Statements from bystanders recounting the nature of your accident or the other party’s alleged intoxication
You can work with our attorneys to determine what forms of evidence are most relevant to your pursuit of compensation.
The Total Value of Relevant Damages
Your DUI accident complaint must also elaborate on the total value of your accident-related losses. You can work with our team to find the total sum of your economic and non-economic damages. That sum can account for:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Mental anguish
- Property damage, replacement, and/or repair
- Wrongful death and funeral expenses, if applicable
Your Personal Injury Filing Deadline
If you want to take civil action after a DUI accident, you need to do so within Indiana’s statute of limitations, or Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4.This personal injury statute of limitations gives you no more than two years to act on your losses. This means that you must bring your lawsuit forward by the second anniversary of your accident, or you lose your right to file.
It can, unfortunately, be challenging for injured parties to stay on top of their filing deadlines. If you’re dealing with life-changing injuries or expenses, you may be reluctant to open up a legal case against the party responsible for your condition.
The good news is that a drunk driving accident attorney in Kokomo can do the hard work involved in building a DUI case for you. You can contact our team at any point during your available two years to initiate an investigation into your losses. Our attorneys can subsequently guide you through the process of filing your claim and defending your right to financial support.
Have a Conversation With a Kokomo Drunk Driving Attorney
Our Kokomo drunk driving lawyers want to help you get back on your feet after a terrible accident. We can keep our ears to the ground as a liable party’s case progresses in criminal court and use guilty verdicts to help you get the compensation you need to restore your previous quality of life. All the while, you can focus on resting and recovering from your losses.
During an initial case consultation with our personal injury lawyers, you can learn more about Vaughan & Vaughan’s legal services. Come talk to us about our experience in civil court and our contingency fee agreements, which allow you to pursue legal action against another party without taking on any up-front legal fees. Call or contact us online today.