Despite the fact that operating a vehicle while intoxicated is against the law in Pennsylvania, the unfortunate truth is that motorists continue to get behind the wheel while drunk. Not only does this put all other motorists at significant risk of harm, it could also result in both criminal and civil litigation.
You should speak with a State College drunk driver accident lawyer if you were struck by an intoxicated motorist. A skilled vehicle accident attorney could help you file a claim for legal recourse and hold the negligent driver accountable for his or her actions.
Cases involving a DUI have many different aspects that do not arise in a typical motor vehicle collision. In a collision involving a DUI, it is typical to see more serious injuries because they can involve an impaired driver who is unable to maintain his or her lane and crosses over into another person’s lane resulting in a head-on collision. In other cases, a drunk driver may go the wrong way on a one-way street or highway.
Another big difference is that there will be a criminal investigation that will proceed at the same time as the civil case when an accident involves a drunk driver. If a responding officer suspects somebody of being under the influence after a wreck, the officer can obtain a test to confirm the impairment at the scene. That evidence can be used in the civil case to show that the defendant was impaired at the time of the collision. Additionally, if the defendant is convicted of driving under the influence in the criminal case, a State College attorney may be able to use this as evidence in the separate civil case for damages.
The last thing that is unique in these types of cases is how it can impact recovery for a plaintiff who has elected to have limited tort under their automobile insurance policy. Under Pennsylvania law, people with limited tort coverage give up their right to pursue non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. However, an exception to this law is if the person responsible for the crash was Driving Under the Influence and was either convicted for a DUI offense, entered a guilty plea for a DUI offense or entered an accelerated rehabilitative disposition program for a DUI offense.
Under these circumstances, a person could still claim non-economic losses despite having limited tort coverage. Therefore, it is important to keep track of the criminal procedure when working on a civil DUI case.
Following a vehicle wreck caused by a negligent driver, a plaintiff could seek non-economic and economic damages. However, in drunk-driving accidents, punitive damages take a more prominent role. Punitive damages are specifically designed to punish the conduct of the defendant and are reserved for especially egregious behaviors, such as operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
That is conduct determined to be extremely dangerous and detrimental to the safety of others. If a person files a car accident case against a drunk driver, his or her experienced local attorney could make a claim for punitive damages in addition to the standard compensatory damages.
Accidents involving intoxicated drivers result in catastrophic even deadly injuries. If you were struck by a drunk driver, you should not hesitate in seeking legal guidance from an experienced injury attorney.
A State College drunk driver accident lawyer could help you file a civil claim against the negligent driver and seek full and complete compensation for your losses. Call Marcus & Mack today to schedule your free case consultation.