Drunk driving is a safety scourge in Indiana and across the United States. Although almost everyone knows that driving after drinking alcohol is unsafe and illegal, a large number of people still do exactly that. Tragically, irresponsible drivers cause a significant number of traffic fatalities every year. Families end up losing a loved one and struggling with their grief and the financial losses that come with an unexpected fatality.
Those harmed by the poor choices or illegal actions of another party can potentially pursue a financial claim as a means of securing compensation for the family’s losses. These are the two primary means of covering the costs associated with someone’s untimely death following a drunk driving wreck.
A claim against the drunk driver
The individual who chose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk is the person most directly to blame for the tragedy that resulted. The surviving family members of someone killed by a drunk driver can typically file an insurance claim.
Of course, the insurance that someone carries is unlikely to be sufficient to reimburse family members for the full financial impact of someone’s early death. In many cases, a civil lawsuit against a drunk driver could be an option.
Family members can claim a lifetime of lost wages and other financial consequences in a wrongful death lawsuit. Such claims can provide compensation but are not always as beneficial as families might hope. The drunk driver may not have sufficient resources to cover their losses.
A claim against a bar or restaurant
Indiana has dram shop laws that make businesses responsible if they do not properly follow the rules that apply to the service of liquor. When people serve someone who is already visibly under the influence or who is not old enough to legally drink, the business that employs them may be liable if that patron goes on to cause a crash.
Business insurance and company assets can go much further toward thoroughly compensating grieving family members than the resources of one individual who may already be in state custody because of the crash.
Dram shop lawsuits and wrongful death claims may take some time to develop, but they can help to more thoroughly compensate those who have been harmed by the negligence and misconduct of drunk drivers. Looking into all options available following a deadly drunk driving collision can benefit surviving family members who are trying to make sense of a tragedy in Indiana.