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Prior Drunk Driving Convictions Come Back to Haunt Defendant in Accident Case

Driving drunk is one of the most dangerous actions that someone can engage in while on the road. Intoxicated drivers are one of leading causes of car accidents. A drunk driver jeopardizes the safety of everyone on the road and when someone gets a DUI, it usually remains on their record for a very long time, if not forever. What happens if a DUI gets used against you in court, even if it is decades old?

In the case of Sims v. Pappas, there was a trial over damages caused by a drunk driver. In this case, the defendant acknowledged his intoxication and responsibility for the collision. When the other party brought up evidence about decades-old convictions for alcohol related offenses, the defendant objected to admitting this evidence. The objection was overruled and the jury ultimately returned a verdict, mostly for compensatory damages. The defendant would appeal in this situation claiming that his objection should not have been overruled.

The Indiana Court of Appeals stated that while it did not believe that prior convictions should be barred outright in civil cases as they mostly would be in a criminal trial, the Court concluded that in this case, the prior convictions neither proved or disproved any facts that were central to the main questions that the jury decided the case on. Because the convictions were not relevant to the issues and were seen by the Court as unfairly prejudicial, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the jury’s verdict and ordered a new trial.

If you or a loved one have been affected by an accident or death, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Hurst Limontes, LLC. We have decades of combined experience fighting for our clients in any number of personal injury claims. Call 317-636-0808 or email us for a FREE and confidential consultation.

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    It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

    If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

    If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

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