Motor vehicle accidents involving drunk drivers are all too common in the New Orleans area. Because of the obvious danger that drinking and driving poses to innocent drivers, Louisiana has enacted special laws that take effect when a personal injury lawsuit involves a drunk driver. These provisions are designed to protect individuals hurt by drunk drivers and impose additional penalties upon such drivers.
When a person is injured by a driver intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs, the injured party may pursue additional damages – called punitive damages – against the drunk driver. Punitive damages are additional compensation awarded to the injured party above the amount granted to cover the costs of medical treatment, lost wages and pain and suffering. The sole purpose of punitive damages is to punish the drunk driver for such dangerous conduct, and to act as a deterrent to similar conduct in the future.
Lawsuits against drunk drivers are one of the few occasions in which punitive damages may be pursued in Louisiana. In most other personal injury cases arising from a motor vehicle collision, they cannot be pursued.
Aside from the possibility of being awarded punitive damages, there are other advantages when pursuing a personal injury lawsuit involving a drunk driver. Since the evidence of intoxication will, in most cases, be admissible at trial, it is usually much easier to prove the drunk driver’s responsibility for causing the collision.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, we would be more than happy to provide legal advice. Please feel free to call our office at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.