Can I Sue a Drunk Driver After an Accident?
Can I Sue a Drunk Driver After an Accident? When you’re involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensatory damages for your injuries. In some cases, you may also qualify for punitive damages, which can provide additional financial compensation on top of the actual damages awarded.
Louisiana’s View on Punitive Damages
Unlike most other states that follow English common law, Louisiana law derives from French and Spanish codes. Under this system, punitive damages are generally not allowed unless explicitly provided for by statute. In Louisiana, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer, specifically in cases involving drunk driving, and to reward the victims.
Recovering Punitive Damages for Your Car Accident
To recover punitive damages for your car accident with a drunk driver, you must meet specific criteria laid out in La. C.C. art. 2315.4. The following three elements must be proven:
- The at-fault driver was intoxicated or under the influence of sufficient drugs or alcohol to lose control of their mental and physical faculties.
- The driver’s intoxication was the cause of your car accident injuries.
- The drunk driver’s behavior showed a wanton or reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others.
Proving Intoxication and Reckless Behavior
To prove intoxication, a positive blood alcohol test is the most straightforward evidence. However, other circumstances can also establish intoxication, such as eyewitness testimony, photographs, accident reports, hospital records, and more.
If you suspect the at-fault driver was intoxicated, inform the responding police officer and include this suspicion in your written statement if requested. Gather information from witnesses about the driver’s behavior before and after the accident.
What to Do After a Drunk Driving Accident
- Obtain contact information from witnesses.
- Notify the police of your suspicion about the driver’s intoxication.
- Provide a written statement mentioning your suspicion.
- Inform your personal injury attorney promptly, so they can begin gathering evidence to support your claim.
While pursuing punitive damages can be complex, having an experienced personal injury attorney from Lee Hoffoss Injury Lawyer by your side can make a significant difference. They can help you understand your options and guide you through the process, ensuring you have the best chance of obtaining the compensation you deserve for your injuries and suffering. Contact us today for personalized legal assistance regarding your drunk driving accident claim.