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Will I Get Punitive Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident?

alcoholic beverages and car keys

Sustaining an injury in a car accident caused by a distracted or negligent driver is devastating. It can be even more devastating to find out that the driver who caused your accident was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you’re struggling to recover from a DUI accident, you deserve all the support you can get – financially, emotionally, and physically. Filing a personal injury claim is the best way to get the compensation you need to heal.

Compensation for the Injured Victims of Drunk Drivers

In addition to the compensation for standard damages – like your medical bills and property damage – you may be entitled to punitive damages if you were injured by a drunk driver. Not all injury victims can receive punitive damages, so you will want an experienced attorney to handle your claim.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are intended to essentially punish an at-fault person when they act recklessly without considering the consequences of their actions. The goal is to punish wrongdoers to discourage the reckless and harmful behavior – in this case, drunk driving. Punitive damages are an extra source of financial award for the victim of a reckless wrongdoer.

How to Receive Punitive Damages

Punitive damages can only be awarded in or after a trial – usually a jury trial. First, you’ll present your primary claim seeking damages for your injury. Then, the judge holds a second smaller trial – with the same jury – to determine if the wrongdoer should be ordered to pay punitive damages in addition to the compensatory damages you already received.

A jury will only award punitive damages if clear and convincing evidence shows that the at-fault party was guilty of either intentional misconduct or gross negligence and that this misconduct substantially harmed you.

The amount you’ll receive in punitive damages will depend on a few factors, including:

  • The nature of the at-fault party’s misconduct
  • Whether the misconduct was financially motivated
  • If the at-fault party was aware of the dangerous nature of their actions
  • If the at-fault party intended to harm you
  • The at-fault party’s financial resources and ability to pay punitive damages

Remember: insurance companies will do everything possible to hide or downplay the drunk driving from the jury in your trial. That’s why you need equally aggressive legal representation that can prove the driver’s inebriation is cause for punitive damages.

We Can Help You Fight for Punitive Damages

At Eliot Reiner, APLC, we understand how devastating it can be to suffer the consequences of someone’s terrible decisions to get behind the wheel after a night of drinking. If you are suffering an injury caused by a drunk driver, you shouldn’t have to pay a penny for their misconduct. Let our personal injury attorneys help you fight for the compensatory and punitive damages you deserve.

Contact us at (916) 778-3228 to schedule a consultation today.

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