In our last discussion about the drunk driver, and forcing them to properly compensate the person they injured or killed, we discussed that the drunk driver harms their victims in many ways. The physical injuries, including paralysis, spinal cord injury, back injury, brain injury, amputation, may last for the rest of the victims life. This impacts not only the injured Hoosier, but his or her family. If the victim cannot work, the family suffers the loss of support. Children may not eat properly, may not have proper housing and clothes, and may have their education impacted. If the Hoosier suffers wrongful death, all these things will happen unless the victim and his family is properly compensated.
The good injury attorney starts by preserving evidence as we already discussed. Another important aspect of such a claim is working with the police and prosecutors to make sure the best evidence is available at the criminal trial. There are five different levels of investigation performed by the investigating police agency. The level of investigation is generally directed by the seriousness of the highway crash or car crash. If the car crash caused a death, a level five investigation is generally performed. This includes taking pictures, and in depth witness statements. The pictures include of the street, for skid marks or other marks on the street. This investigation usually includes measurements of the skid marks from start of the crash to the end. If death does not result from the car crash, the police agency may do a lesser investigation. This is why it is important for the victim and his family to do their own investigation. This starts with hiring a competent injury attorney. The competent injury attorney has the resources available to complete the investigation the police do not perform. This includes finding witnesses, taking additional pictures and other important matters.
Once the investigation is complete, cooperation with the prosecutor is essential. The reason for this is, a conviction of the drunk driver on charges of driving while intoxicated, or a plea agreement pleading guilty to these charges can be used in the civil claim against the drunk driver to show they are responsible for the harm they caused. A short review may be helpful. In any drunk driving crash two separate cases arise, criminal and civil. The criminal case is handled by the prosecutor and is based on the state’s criminal code. The result of a conviction in a criminal case is usually jail and probation. The civil case is brought to compensate the victim, to try to obtain sufficient funds to pay medical bills both past and future, lost wages both past and future, and money for permanent injury and pain. Both types of cases are extremely important. The criminal case is brought to deter others from drunk driving. The civil case is brought to compensate the injured person and his family.
In our next installment, we will talk about the sources of money available to compensate the hurt Hoosier, and his family.
At Young and Young, we are a family firm with a legal presence in Indiana for more than one hundred consecutive years. We have been focused solely on injury accidents for the last 55 years. We have the experience and resources to help Hoosier families recover what they need to live fulfilling lives. Whether you have been injured in a car accident, a traffic accident, a truck accident, a motorcycle accident, or hit by a drunk driver, we stand ready to help.
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