Our personal injury attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices have handled many car accident cases involving drunk drivers and can help to ensure you receive just compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in every state in the U.S. and causes thousands of traumatic injuries and fatalities each year. Although drunk driving charges are typically brought in the criminal court, a person who is facing drunk driving charges can be sued for damages in the civil court as well. Civil courts have the ability to award compensatory damages to victims and also may award punitive damages to punish drunk drivers who have injured or killed someone due to their negligence or recklessness.
Compensatory damages compensate an injured person for accident-related expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, and other damages such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim, but are instead designed to punish the defendant for his or her egregious conduct and to deter others from committing the same type of wrongdoing. The vast majority of motorists are well aware that drunk driving puts their lives and the lives of others at risk, so seeking punitive damages may be a possibility if you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver.
However, just because the person facing drunk driving charges was under the influence a plaintiff is not automatically entitled to punitive damages. In order to obtain an award for punitive damages, a plaintiff must produce clear and convincing evidence of outrageous, reckless or malicious behavior. This could include prior DUI convictions or drunk driving charges, other drug or alcohol-related offenses, a high blood-alcohol level and reckless driving. This is just one reason why it is essential to hire an experienced car accident attorney who will investigate the facts of your case and determine whether or not seeking punitive damages is appropriate.
Contact An Attorney To Protect Your Rights
Hiring a skilled car accident lawyer who understands the complexities surrounding punitive damages can help to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve and possibly prevent others from being injured in the future. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in an accident with a drunk driver, contact Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices in the Lehigh Valley at 610-867-2900 to schedule a free consultation today.