Car accidents are stressful enough. Yet they get even more stressful…and infuriating…when the driver who struck your vehicle was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
While that driver may face criminal charges, you can still press a personal injury claim against them and their insurance company.
Can you get punitive damages against a drunk driver?
Drunk driving is one of the most common reasons to get awarded punitive damages in a car accident case. Driving while under the influence clearly meets the definition of egregious negligence above and beyond the norm.
The case that solidified the rights of plaintiffs to seek punitive damages, Steinkrauss v Afridi, set the standard for this type of award: the defendant must have done something worthy of punishment. Drunk driving certainly qualifies.
There is no cap on punitive damages in Alberta.
What should you do if you’ve been hit by a drunk driver?
You should treat an accident with a drunk driver like any other accident. While it won’t be up to you to prove the other driver was drunk, it’s a good idea to take pictures and document anything you notice. For example, if you can smell alcohol on the other driver’s breath that’s a fact worth mentioning to your lawyer.
Be sure to get the name of the other driver’s insurance company and the name and numbers of any witnesses. You should absolutely call the police. If the police have cause to suspect drunk driving they will enter that into the report. They will likely arrest the other driver. All of this is evidence you can use in your case.
Of course, some drunk driving accidents are so bad that you won’t be able to collect evidence on your own behalf.
When this happens, it’s vital that you call an experienced personal injury lawyer right away.
We’re experienced at gathering all the facts of the case and using them to ensure that you get fair compensation for your injuries.
Are drunk driving personal injury cases easy to win?
You should not assume that a drunk driving personal injury case will be easy to win. While it may seem like insurance companies should be eager to settle quickly and in your favor, they are more likely to dispute the facts of the case.
Remember, they want to do anything they can to avoid paying for your losses. Unfortunately, being in the right isn’t enough to win a fair settlement if you don’t have strong legal support.
Why Merchant Law?
When you partner with Merchant Law you get access to some of Calgary’s most experienced personal injury lawyers. Our lawyers put in decades of time in the trenches, and are known as tough negotiators and litigators.
When you hire a lawyer from Merchant Law, insurance companies know you mean business.
To get started, call (403) 225-7777. We answer our phones 24/7/365 to make sure you get the help you need quickly. Your initial consultation is free, and you don’t have to worry about legal fees at all if we’re not successful.