Car Accidents With Drunk Drivers: What Am I Entitled To?
Unfortunately, car accidents involving drunk drivers happen all the time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were 792 fatal car accidents in Florida in 2008 involving at least one driver with a blood alcohol level of .08% or above . If you are injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver, what compensation is available to you?
Under Florida Law, compensatory damages are available to car accident victims to compensate them for their loss, injury or harm. This essentially includes economic losses and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish and loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life. But in some cases, additional damages may be allowed that will serve to punish or deter malicious or reckless behavior. These are called punitive damages.
In most cases, punitive damages are either limited or difficult to obtain since Florida has undergone extensive tort reform. However, punitive damages are generally available in cases involving drunk drivers who cause a car accident. This means that a plaintiff would be entitled to a substantially larger damages award if a case for punitive damages can be made. A plaintiff seeking punitive damages in a car accident case involving a drunk driver must show that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol or another drug to the extent that the defendant’s normal faculties were impaired, or that he had a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08% or higher at the time of his negligence.
If you are injured by a drunk driver or have lost a family member to a car accident involving a drunk driver, it is crucial that you have an experienced attorney to advise you of the type of damages available to you, such as punitive damages. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes today for a free consultation. We see you through.