Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) often leads to an accident on the road. DUI accidents are often as serious as they are completely preventable. When drivers choose to operate their vehicles under the influence, they often face legal consequences for the harm they caused. These can include both criminal punishment and a civil damages payout to the people who suffered harm from the driver’s actions.
Recently, an article released the details from a crash report in a high-profile Indiana DUI accident. State police received a call just after midnight about an apparent truck accident on the highway. According to witnesses, the truck veered off the road and hit a guardrail, pushing it into the opposite lane. The truck then continued to drive the wrong way before striking a median guardrail and crashing into an embankment. Police then found the truck’s owner, State Representative Jim Lucas, who allegedly smelled of alcohol. He was transported to the hospital for a blood draw. Representative Lucas faces preliminary charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, causing endangerment, and leaving the scene of a crash.
How Are Civil and Criminal DUI Cases Different?
When drivers commit a DUI offense, they may face criminal and civil penalties. In a criminal DUI case, the jury must find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to convict the defendant of a DUI offense. This standard means that the jury must be nearly certain that the defendant committed the crime. If convicted, the defendant can face jail time or significant fines. However, these penalties often fail to adequately compensate DUI accident victims for their harm, both physical and emotional. In that case, victims can bring a negligence lawsuit against the responsible driver to seek monetary damages for their injuries. Compared to criminal cases, civil cases carry a much lower burden of proof. To hold the defendant liable for damages, the judge or jury only needs to find it more likely than not that the defendant was responsible for the plaintiff’s harm. This standard is called the preponderance of the evidence.
What Damages Are Available in an Indiana DUI Accident?
If you suffered injuries in an Indiana DUI accident, you may be able to recover several types of damages. First, plaintiffs can seek economic damages to recover out-of-pocket expenses from the accident. For example, plaintiffs may seek compensation for their medical expenses, including treatment for physical and psychological harm resulting from the accident. Economic expenses can also include damage to a plaintiff’s vehicle, as well as lost wages due to the plaintiff’s injuries. Second, plaintiffs can also recover non-economic damages, which intend to compensate plaintiffs for the emotional harm that can result from a serious accident. Under Indiana law, plaintiffs can seek damages for pain and suffering, including both physical and emotional pain. Unlike some other states, Indiana does not cap pain and suffering damages except in a few special cases.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana DUI Accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an Indiana DUI accident, contact the Indiana personal injury firm of Padove Law today. Attorney Burton A. Padove has over 40 years of experience representing clients throughout the state of Indiana. Through Attorney Padove’s skilled representation, he has proudly recovered significant compensation for his clients’ injuries. To learn more, and to schedule a free initial consultation, call us at 877-446-5294.