Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal and reckless. Drunk drivers are far more likely than sober drivers to be involved in accidents, and many are fatal.
If a drunk driving car accident in Cambria County caused you injuries, you have a right to hold the negligent driver accountable for your economic and non-economic losses. Speak with a skilled motor vehicle wreck attorney as soon as possible about pursuing damages after your crash.
Whenever an injured person (plaintiff) seeks damages in court, they must prove that someone else (the defendant) was negligent. Negligence means failing to use the reasonable care required under the circumstances, directly leading to an injury to someone else. In most circumstances, a plaintiff must present proof of a defendant’s negligence.
The plaintiff’s burden is easier when they seek damages after a car accident and have proof the defendant was driving while drunk. They need not show any evidence of negligence except that the defendant was driving while impaired. Violating a law that exists to protect the public, such as the laws against impaired driving, is sufficient proof of negligence—in legal terms, it is negligence per se.
If the defendant was convicted of or pled guilty to impaired driving related to the crash, that may be sufficient evidence to establish negligence per se. If the criminal case has not resolved at the time the plaintiff is pursuing damages, a proactive Cambria County attorney could rely on the defendant’s field sobriety test results, blood alcohol concentration (BAC), witness testimony, and driver admissions to establish negligence.
A plaintiff who proves a defendant drunk driver negligent could expect to receive damages compensating his or her losses. There are two categories of damages a plaintiff might receive: compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages include the plaintiff’s past and future out-of-pocket losses related to his or her injuries, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages. Compensatory damages also include payment to acknowledge the plaintiff’s pain, suffering, and reduced quality of life resulting from his or her injuries.
In drunk driving cases, a determined Cambria County lawyer also might seek punitive damages. Courts can award punitive damages if the plaintiff’s legal counsel could prove that the drunk driver’s conduct was outrageous and showed a reckless indifference to others’ safety.
In any lawsuit seeking damages for negligence, the plaintiff’s conduct will be considered. While Pennsylvania law allows a negligent plaintiff to seek damages, the victim can collect only the amount attributable to others’ conduct.
According to 42 P.S. §7102(a), the larger the portion of blame the plaintiff carries, the smaller the amount other negligent parties will have to pay. A plaintiff who is more than 50 percent responsible for an accident cannot claim any damages from other parties.
Defendants’ insurance companies routinely seek evidence to show that the plaintiff was negligent. A drunk defendant’s primary responsibility for a crash is usually clear, but an insurer could reduce his or her liability by showing that the plaintiff also was negligent. A seasoned drunk driving crash attorney in Cambria County could aggressively counter these attempts and ensure the plaintiff gets an appropriate settlement.
Drunk driving is an illegal and irresponsible act. When someone drives drunk and causes an injury, he or she must be held accountable.
A local injury attorney could help you pursue comprehensive financial recovery after a drunk driving accident in Cambria County. Call Marcus & Mack today to schedule a case review.
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