If you encounter a drunk driver on the road, you should do everything you can to avoid them. However, if you do end up colliding with the other driver and you identified one of the warning signs of drunk driving, you may be able to assist your personal injury attorney in seeking compensation for your injuries.
Warning Signs of Drunk Driving
A drunk driver might be:
- Swerving between lanes
- Following other cars too closely
- Hugging the center lane
- Driving very slowly or very fast
- Braking excessively
If any witnesses see this behavior as well, make sure to write down their contact information.
Contact the Police
If you suspect that the other driver was under the influence when they crashed her car into your vehicle, you will want to bring this up with the officer who arrives at the scene of the accident. Then, the officer may be able to perform a sobriety test to determine if the driver is intoxicated.
There are two reasons why the fact that the driver is intoxicated is relevant:
Driving under the influence shows negligence
You may be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages refer to an additional settlement you might receive due to the fact that the courts wish to punish the driver for drinking and driving to act as a deterrent against future drivers who might make this decision. Punitive damages are usually not available in a simple car accident but are almost always involved when the negligent driver was using drugs or alcohol.
To receive punitive damages, you must show that the defendant showed malice, fraud, oppression, wantonness, or wont of care and that these attitudes lead to the accident. Punitive damages are sometimes capped, but some states will also create exceptions for cases involving drugs or alcohol.
Compensation for Drunk Driving
While punitive damages may substantially increase the award you receive for the drunk driving accident, the driver may have an insurance provider who has a cap on how much they will pay. Then, you will need to seek compensation directly from the driver for the remaining amount.
However, if the other driver does not have very many assets, you may never be able to collect from them. This is especially true if the driver also faces criminal penalties and must spend time in jail. Fortunately, a personal injury attorney will help you determine the best course of actions after being injured by a drunk driver.