Indiana student is killed in a fatal drunk driving accident. What legal options does his family have?

Mar 3, 2020 6:05 PM ET

A fatal drunk driving crash in Lake County, Indiana took the life of a young exchange student.


Young driver is killed as another car went onto the Interstate in the wrong direction

The Indiana State Police initially responded to Interstate 65 near the Crown Point and Hebron exits at about 1:30 am. The victim was driving his Chevy Corvette through this area when the suspect, a 21 year old female from Beaverville, entered the highway driving the wrong direction from an exit ramp that led to U.S. Highway 231. Shortly after the collision, an automated OnStar system and another 911 emergency call both reported the accident around the same time. Based on the initial investigation, police believe the driver of the car going in the wrong direction was intoxicated. 

The victim was a 20 year old from the United Arab Emirates who attended IUPUI. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the car that entered the ramp the wrong way also died shortly after the accident at a local hospital. A passenger in the Corvette survived and was being treated for injuries at Franciscan Health. He was expected to survive.

First responders had to keep I-65 closed for several hours while the scene was entirely cleared. The response and cleanup took about seven hours altogether.


Fatal accidents and lawsuits

Even when someone dies in a drunk driving accident, their family can still file a wrongful death lawsuit to receive compensation for funeral, burial, medical costs, and other losses caused by the accident. Indiana has a wrongful death statute that explains the rules of these kinds of lawsuits. Every other state has similar procedures.


Indiana’s wrongful death statute

In Indiana, the person who handles the deceased person’s estate technically needs to file the case on their behalf. The family will become the beneficiaries of any money won from a lawsuit or settlement. Indiana also has three separate statutes that cover this type of lawsuit. One is for deceased children, the other is for unmarried adults, and a general wrongful death statute for everyone else. Spouses, children, and parents are the only parties who can become the beneficiaries of the case, which means that more distant relatives are excluded.

Wrongful death claims within Indiana also generally do not allow the plaintiff to collect non-economic damages related to emotional pain caused by the death, which is different from most other states. Because Indiana’s wrongful death laws are more complex than most other states in the country, it is recommended that anyone considering a lawsuit should speak to a lawyer who practices in this area.


Schedule a meeting with an experienced local lawyer

There are attorneys throughout the state of Indiana who focus their practice on helping people who have been injured by drunk drivers. The listings on contain more information.

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