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:
- The defendant was intoxicated
- The driver acted “wantonly or recklessly” in regards to other
- The driver caused damages while actually driving a motor vehicle
- 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.