Punitive Damages: Can You Get them For a Drunk Driving Case?

When we meet with clients for the first time, they usually tell us that they want justice. Nine times out of ten, this means they want compensation for their injuries. When it comes to people who have been involved in a drunk driving accident in Greenville, they ask if they can get special damages because the defendant was drunk driving. The short answer to this question is – maybe.

It wouldn’t be fair for our Greenville accident lawyers to guarantee that you’ll receive punitive damages. The judges are very stingy in granting these types of damages, especially in personal injury cases. Punitive damages are usually reserved for mass tort cases and class action lawsuits. If there is a chance of collecting punitive damages, you can bet that your Greenville accident lawyer will do whatever it takes.

Here, we will briefly discuss the types of damages you can expect to collect in your car accident lawsuit. We will also explain how punitive damages work and how the courts determine whether or not they will issue them in a given case. If you still have questions about your own drunk driving accident in Greenville, contact one of our Greenville accident lawyers so you can schedule your free, initial consultation.

Drunk Driving Accidents Tend to Be More Serious than Other Accidents

Certain types of motor vehicle accidents are more dangerous than others. For example, our Greenville accident lawyers often say that motorcycle accidents and truck accidents are some of the most serious types of cases they handle. Even more serious than these types of cases, however, are drunk driving cases.

When somebody’s involved in a drunk driving accident in Greenville, they tend to suffer life threatening injuries. Because the other driver has no idea that they’re behaving recklessly, they behave in ways the normal person would not. They may drive 20 or 30 miles over the speed limit. Drunk drivers are known to drive the wrong way down roads and highways. Some of the victims we have met with were struck head on by a drunk driver. One can only imagine that types of injuries associated with that kind of impact.

Your Greenville Accident Lawyer Shouldn’t Have a Hard Time Proving Fault

One good thing about a drunk driving accident in Greenville is that it’s not difficult for your Greenville accident lawyer to prove fault. All they have to do is submit proof that the other driver was arrested for drunk driving and the jury would likely conclude that they were at fault. Of course, there is still the chance that they may find that you were partially at fault for the crash. If this is the case, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. However, in our experience, defendants in drunk driving cases are typically held accountable. And it’s very hard to ignore the fact that they were arrested, charged, and convicted of drunk driving. That would not have happened if they were not negligent.

You Can Demand the Usual Types of Damages Collected in Car Accident Cases

Aside from punitive damages, your Greenville accident lawyer will demand other damages on your behalf. These damages are meant to compensate you for any losses you suffered as a result of your drunk driving accident in Greenville. Most car accident lawsuits involve the following types of damages:

  • medical bills and future medical bills
  • property damage
  • lost wages
  • lost future income
  • pain and suffering

As discussed here, you may be able to add punitive damages to this list if your Greenville accent lawyer can demonstrate that the other driver was indeed drunk at the time of the crash.

Your Greenville Accident Lawyer Can Even Demand Punitive Damages

In most personal injury cases, the judges are very reluctant to issue punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for the way they behaved. The purpose is to force the defendant to pay the additional damages in the hopes that they will never behave this way again. Punitive damages also serves as a deterrent to other members of the community. If people know that they could be charged tens of thousands of dollars in punitive damages, they may think twice before they drink and drive.

It’s important to remember, however, that nobody’s entitled to punitive damages. In fact, depending on the judge’s ruling, the punitive damages may not even be paid to you directly. Sometimes they go to drunk driving courses or other state agencies that work to reduce the incidence of drunk driving in South Carolina. In order to know for sure, make sure you check with your Greenville accident lawyer to find out what they think may happen.

If You’ve Been Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident in Greenville, We Can Help

If you or your loved one were injured in a drunk driving accident in Greenville, you may be entitled to more than just regular damages. When we meet with new clients, we offer them a free initial consultation. This gives them a chance to sit down with one of our Greenville accident lawyers and tell us their story. It also gives our attorneys a chance to review whatever information you have. One of the first things we’re going to look at is a copy of the police report. This will tell us valuable information about your case that we wouldn’t otherwise have. If we see that the other driver was arrested and charged with drunk driving at the accident scene, it will help prove your case. In fact, it may give you a chance to demand punitive damages on top of your other economic damages.

We suggest you call our office today so you can schedule your free, initial consultation. We don’t charge anything up front. You can sit down and have an experienced Greenville accident lawyer review your case and answer any questions you might have. If we do decide to represent you, we will reach out to the state prosecutor’s office and get confirmation that the defendant was indeed arrested for drunk driving. We will also get an update on whether they’ve been convicted or not. In other words, we will handle the legal side of things for you while you focus on getting better.

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