When a DUI lawyer represents a client who was injured by a negligent driver, an important consideration is whether or not punitive damages should be assessed. Punitive damages are more unusual than many people realize. As a DUI lawyer can tell you, several criteria must be met for an injured victim to claim punitive damages against the driver who hurt them and was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you sustained one or more serious injuries because of a DUI driver, contact a law firm immediately to discuss your case with a DUI lawyer. They offer victims a no-cost confidential consultation with a DUI lawyer to learn how much compensation you could receive for your damages caused by a DUI driver.

What are compensatory damages?

Compensatory damages are those which are paid to a victim for their losses or the harm they suffered. They are paid to the victim by the party who “breached their duty of care” by acting negligently or carelessly. A DUI lawyer will review the details of your circumstances to determine which of your damages are eligible for compensation. Common examples of compensatory damages:

  • Costs for medical treatment of the injury or injuries.
  • Reimbursement of salary or hourly wages that the victim cannot earn while they recover from their injuries.
  • Compensation for the victim’s pain and emotional suffering related to the injuries they sustained.

What are punitive damages?

Punitive damages are those that are assessed as a way to punish the negligent or careless party who breached their duty of care to the victim. Typically, a DUI lawyer includes punitive damages in a claim or lawsuit when compensatory damages are simply not enough. A court is more likely to award punitive damages if the defendant acted in a way that was outrageously negligent or careless. In the context of a DUI driver, an example of when a court might award punitive damages is when a person chooses to drink and drive despite knowing the dangers, and in the process causes an accident which results in one or more victims sustaining a catastrophic injury.

How are punitive damages determined?

As mentioned, punitive damages are rarely awarded. Though a DUI lawyer might include them in a claim or lawsuit, it does not guarantee that the victim will receive them. Even if they are awarded, it may be more or less than the amount requested. If the victim’s DUI lawyer escalates the claim to a civil lawsuit, a jury might award punitive damages but the presiding Judge might overrule the amount in favor of a lesser amount. Punitive damages can range from a dollar to millions of dollars, though the latter is extremely rare. Your DUI lawyer will work with you to determine if punitive damages are warranted, and if so, what the amount should be. 

Were you injured by a DUI driver? If the answer is yes, call a lawyer today and request a free consultation with an experienced DUI lawyer who can get you a settlement you deserve.