Everyone knows that driving under the influence can result in devastating accidents and severe injuries. When someone ignores that basic truth and chooses to drive while drunk, you have the legal right to pursue compensation if harmed in a crash. Here are the top three facts you need to know if a reckless drunk driver in Pennsylvania has hurt you.
Limited Tort Insurance Is Less Helpful Than You Think
Unfortunately, limited tort coverage restricts what kind of damages you can recover from a drunk driver. There is a loophole to keep in mind, however. If the drunk driver is convicted of a DUI offense and agrees to pursue Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), then that restriction is waived, and you can pursue full tort damages.
However, that’s no help to you if the driver isn’t convicted and doesn’t enroll in an ARD program. In that case, an attorney can help you determine if there are other measures to take towards financial recovery.
The Drunk Driver May Be Ordered to Pay Punitive Damages
There are instances when a successful lawsuit against a drunk driver may involve additional damages beyond medical costs or lost income. These punitive damages are intended to punish the drunk driver to deter similar behavior in the future.
Punitive damages aren’t guaranteed simply because the at-fault party was drunk, however. You first need to prove that the at-fault driver engaged in “outrageous conduct” and knowingly behaved with reckless indifference to the rights of others. Your legal counsel may need to provide details about the at-fault party, such as:
- Engaging in other distracted driving behaviors, such as using a cellphone
- Evidence of intoxication prior to the accident, such as weaving in and out of lanes without signaling
- Exhibiting signs of intoxication at the scene of the accident
- Past driving history
- Speed and traffic circumstances
You Need an Attorney if You Were Hurt in a Crash Caused by a Drunk Driver
The drunk driver receiving a citation from police or even facing a criminal DUI trial doesn’t help your financial recovery. You need someone with experience in drunk driving cases to negotiate with the insurance company and potentially present your case to a jury to recover the full damages you deserve.
Were you or a close loved one harmed by a drunk driver? Talk with an experienced Pennsylvania car accident attorney about your case to determine your next steps in recovering financially. Schedule a free consultation by calling 215-332-0300 or contact us online.