If you have been hit by a drunk driver you may have a claim against the driver for your personal injuries, but there are some unique issues in a drunk driver case that are not always present in your typical automobile accident case.
One of these unique issues is that the case is more likely to include a punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for what they did. In your typical automobile accident case, you do not generally see punitive damages as a part of the Complaint, often because there is far less standing in those cases for punitive action. Whether or not you can obtain or pursue punitive damages depends on the particulars of the case. Although many insurance policies and companies do not cover punitive damages, it can provide you and your legal team great leverage when negotiating with insurance companies.
- One of the things you can do to determine if you can pursue punitive damages is find out how intoxicated the other driver was. In finding out their blood alcohol level, you can argue that they were intentionally negligent and reckless in getting behind the wheel.
- Additionally, you should find out if they have any other DUIs or public intoxication citations on their record.
- Try to find out if there were any traffic or security cameras around when you were hit.
- Lastly, try to find out the speed that the driver was driving when they hit you.
What Will Happen After I File a Complaint?
Your civil case will proceed, and your counsel can walk you through the steps of each benchmark in process for your specific case. Where DUI cases can differ from general auto accident cases is the criminal element. If your local DA’s office decides to prosecute the drunk driver, you may very well be asked to testify in that case as well.
In most states, the civil case will include a claim for gross negligence, as well as a standard claim for negligence. Gross negligence means that when a case is viewed objectively, the act or mission in question includes an extreme degree of risk considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others, in of which the individual liable has actual subjective awareness of the risk involved but nevertheless proceeds to do the act.
Contact an Attorney
DUI cases can pose significant challenges and should be handled by a professional. Consider reaching out to an experienced lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer Minneapolis MN relies on, if you have been hit by a drunk driver. An attorney that values you as a client and will do all within their power to ensure you receive just and fair compensation for your accident is the attorney you deserve. Contact a lawyer today.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Johnston Martineau PLLP for their insight into car accident and DUI cases.