Can I seek punitive damages from the drunk driver that injured me?
Friends and family members of a Mesquite man killed in a drunk driving accident in 2014 recently gathered to dedicate memorial signs to their loved one. Signs placed near the accident site on Highway 28 now read “Please Don’t Drink and Drive, In Memory of Patrick Nieto.” Sadly, the family of this Mesquite man is just one of many families across the nation mourning the loss of their loved ones to a drunk driving accident.
Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
Each year, over 10,000 people are killed in alcohol related driving accidents, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drunk driving crashes account for one third of all fatal traffic related deaths. The number of drunk driving accidents has remained consistently high despite decades of aggressive anti-drunk driving ads and harsh DWI statutes nationwide. Drunk driving is estimated to cost the United States over $199 billion each year, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Your Rights as a Victim of a Drunk Driving Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and alcohol may have been a factor, it is critical that you contact your local authorities right away for assistance. A dispatched officer or trooper will evaluate the crash and take the necessary steps to determine whether the driver who hit you was intoxicated. Failure to seek police assistance could result in loss of your legal rights as evidence of the other driver’s intoxication will be gone.
Once it has been established that the driver who injured you was drunk at the time of the crash, you should consult with a personal injury attorney for help with the next necessary steps. You can file a personal injury action against the driver who hit you seeking compensation for your losses. Potential damages in a drunk driving accident case could include recovery for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Punitive damages are not awarded in every case, but in drunk driving accident cases, they may be charged against the grossly negligent drunk driver. Punitive damages are not intended to make the victim whole, but rather to punish the drunk driver. These sums can be quite substantial. Your personal injury attorney will explore your potential recovery options and provide you with an overview of what damages you may receive in a drunk driving accident case.
Posted in: DUI/DWI