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Punitive Damages in DUI Accident Injury Claims

Posted By Duck Law Firm || 8-Feb-2016

In some situations, DUI accident victims in Louisiana may be entitled to recover punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. While compensation is ordinarily awarded for damages such as pain and suffering, lost income, and medical expenses, punitive damages are awarded to the injured party as a method of punishing the defendant and dissuading others from engaging in similar conduct. DUI accident claims are the only type of motor vehicle liability claims that can result in punitive damages being awarded. Several key elements must be required in order for a judge to award punitive damages.

The following four requirements must be met to warrant punitive damages:

  1. The defendant was intoxicated
  2. The driver acted “wantonly or recklessly” in regards to other people’s safety
  3. The driver caused damages while actually driving a motor vehicle
  4. The driver’s intoxication caused the plaintiff to suffer injuries

Insurance providers have the right to exclude the payment of these exemplary damages from any payments made on behalf of the insured driver, meaning that punitive damages must be paid out of the defendant’s own funds. Punitive damages are often awarded as a multiple of actual damages.

What is Considered “Wanton or Reckless” Behavior?

A driver’s conduct must be deemed intentional or committed with willful disregard for the potential consequences of a person’s behavior in order to be seen as “wanton or reckless” in the eyes of the law. Certain actions can increase the likelihood of punitive damages, though this will vary on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of wanton or reckless conduct include:

  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) well over 0.08%
  • Drag racing through a residential neighborhood while intoxicated
  • Driving while intoxicated with a minor passenger in the vehicle

Hit By a Drunk Driver? Call (337) 660-2699

If you were injured in a drunk driving car accident, a high-caliber Lafayette car accident attorney from Duck Law Firm, LLC can protect your interests in court and fight to secure maximum compensation on your behalf. With more than 20 years of top-rated personal injury experience, your case is sure to be in excellent hands.

Request a free consultation today to get started towards filing a claim.

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