As a victim of an alcohol-related accident, you have the right to retain legal counsel who can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to for the various damages you suffered. Your Gary, IN drunk driving accident attorney will assess the incident along with your losses and determine if you are entitled to file a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver. In the event you are, you will be required to not only prove the motorist was negligent, but also the losses you incurred as a result of the wreck.
How do I prove negligence in a drunk driving accident case?
A person is considered to be negligent when he/she fails to “behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances” [Source: Cornell Law School]. This “behavior typically consists of actions but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act.” For example, drivers are required to exercise care while driving and should not engage in any type of behavior that violates the law or could cause harm to another. This includes driving drunk, driving distracted, operating a vehicle in a reckless manner, etc.
One of the ways you can prove that a driver was negligent is by providing the court with evidence that indicates the driver has been charged with or found guilty of DUI. Typically, this is the easiest way to recognize a drunk driver for behaving negligently, however, a drunk driving accident lawyer will work with you and assist you with gathering any other evidence that could be used to support your case and increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.
Invoking the Negligence Per Se Law
Indiana’s negligence per se law says that “an unexcused or unjustified violation of a statutory duty constitutes negligence per se if the statute is intended to protect the class of persons at issue and to protect against the particular type of harm which occurred. Lever Bros. Co. v. Llangdoc, 655 N.E.2d 577, 580 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995).” Driving while intoxicated is a violation of a state statute that is intended to protect the public which means you could use this law to satisfy the need to prove negligence was a factor in the crash.
How do I prove my losses?
Most drunk driving accidents often result with a victim suffering various losses, including injuries, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. To prove to the court that you did, in fact, suffer one or more losses, you will need to provide evidence so that the court is more inclined to award in your favor. Some of the things you can use to prove your losses include:
- Doctors notes that indicate your condition, injuries, and prognosis. This will help determine how much you are entitled to for past medical treatment and the care you will need rendered in the future.
- Receipts for vehicle repairs, medical care, expenses incurred as a result of the accident, etc.
- Bills from doctors or hospitals that haven’t been paid. If you still owe money to a doctor or hospital, it would behoove you to provide this to the court.
- A letter from your employer that indicates you haven’t been able to work. This can help you recover compensation for lost wages, or money you would have earned had you been able to work.
Now, if you would like to learn more about your rights as a drunk driving accident victim and whether or not you have the grounds to file a civil suit against the driver who hit you, you should contact Marshall P. Whalley & Associates. The Gary, IN drunk driving accident lawyers at this firm can provide you with the legal advice you might be needing right now or assist you with initiating a case against the intoxicated motorist who caused the crash.
Marshall P. Whalley & Associates can be reached at:
51 W. 112th Avenue
Crown Point, IN, 46307