Establishing Liability for a Drunk Driving Crash in Indiana
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Nov 18, 2021 in Car Accidents
Establishing liability for a drunk driving accident may be more difficult than you might think. It is important to preserve as much evidence as possible, as insurers will look for any reason to deny or undervalue your claim.
Our car crash attorneys in South Bend are prepared to help investigate your claim for a drunk driving accident to help maximize your compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. The consultation is free and there are no upfront fees.
Below, we discuss building a case against a drunk driver and why it is important to work with an experienced attorney.
Involve Law Enforcement
You should always call 9-1-1 after an accident to get an objective third party on the scene to help determine who caused the accident. However, getting law enforcement involved in a drunk driving accident may be even more important than in other occasions because police officers have the necessary tools and training to determine if a driver may be under the influence of alcohol.
A police officer on the scene may be able to conduct a field sobriety test if he or she suspects intoxication played a role in the crash. Test results, or a driver declining a test, would be included in a police report that could later be used to support your claim of negligent driving.
Without police involvement at the scene of the crash, it would be very difficult for someone without proper training to determine whether a driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.
Talk to Witnesses
If it is safe to do so, and you are physically capable, talk to witnesses on the scene who may have seen the other driver speeding or otherwise driving in a reckless manner. This could help back up your claim of drunk driving.
Be sure to get the witness’s contact information and ask whether he or she would be willing to provide an official statement about what he or she witnessed.
Eyewitnesses are usually other drivers who were in the vicinity of the accident scene, which means that they are not likely to still be available when you revisit the scene.
The police officer should also talk to witnesses, so if you were unconscious at the scene of the crash, or you were otherwise unable to speak to anyone who saw the accident, the police could still talk to them. Our attorneys can get those statements to help support your claim.
Evidence That May Be Requested During Discovery
If your lawyer files a lawsuit because the insurance company will not offer a fair settlement, the case will enter the discovery phase, which is when your attorney may request more information to help prove another driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.
If a person has previously been arrested for driving under the influence, you may have a stronger case to prove he or she has a history of negligent driving. This may help convince a jury that the driver should be held liable for your injuries and other damages, provided you have evidence the driver was drunk during your crash.
Bank statements or other financial records may help you prove that a person was at a bar prior to an accident and/or that he or she purchased alcohol. This could not only help prove a driver was intoxicated, but it may also help you hold the bar or restaurant liable for damages under Indiana’s dram shop liability laws.
What if the Insurance Company Tries to Deny Liability?
The insurance company will try to deny liability, either by claiming that the person’s intoxication status is not what contributed to the accident or that because the driver broke the law by driving drunk, the insurance company should not be held liable. Insurance companies often have exclusions for intentional actions.
While both excuses may work in certain situations, it is important to note that our attorneys are prepared for either scenario. If the insurance company tries to blame you for the crash, our attorneys are prepared to build a strong case against the other driver and to refute claims about your role in the crash.
If the insurance company tries to deny coverage by claiming they do not cover intentional actions, we may be able to argue driving drunk may be an intentional and illegal act, but causing a crash is not.
Call an Experienced Attorney
Recovering compensation for a drunk driving accident may be more complicated because the insurance company is likely to fight hard to deny your claim.
Drunk driving claims can cost insurers a lot of money, which gives them extra incentive to try to deny or devalue these claims. Fortunately, our attorneys are prepared for the excuses presented by the insurance company, and we know how to counter them.
No upfront fees. No risks. Call (844) 678-1800 today.