Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC
Even if you are a careful driver, you always face the possibility of encountering a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The Ohio State Highway Patrol reported 1,153 fatal crashes in 2019, and 637 of those crashes were OVI-related.
When an impaired driver injures you, you have the right to seek damages from the negligent party and their insurer. This includes the compensatory or economic losses related to your accident for medical bills and lost wages. It also includes non-economic damages for things like your pain and suffering.
On the other hand, punitive damages are not focused on the victim’s needs. Instead, they are designed to punish the responsible party when their actions are particularly outrageous. This may include driving under the influence, so it’s essential to speak with a car accident lawyer about your legal options after being injured in an Ohio DUI accident.
Contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW today. We’ll discuss your case for free and the possibility of recovering putative damages.
Punitive Damages In Ohio DUI Accidents
Personal Injury Law in Ohio states that a person has the right to recover compensation for the harm they sustained due to the negligent actions of another. Money may not bring back a loved one or cure everything, but financial compensation can help return your life to how it was before the accident.
Punitive damages are different. They focus on the person who caused the harm. Punitive damages are meant to punish this person for malicious or egregious acts.
Courts may not always award punitive damages in personal injury cases. But when appropriate, punitive damages would be in addition to any other damages recovered, like medical bills, emotional distress, etc.
Is Drunk Driving “Malicious or Egregious?”
The plaintiff must meet the burden of proof for punitive damages to be awarded. To do this, you must show that both of the following apply:
- The other person showed malice or egregiousness in their actions or knowingly participated in malicious or especially egregious actions.
- The facts of your case demonstrate that you deserve punitive damages.
Showing The Need For Punitive Damages In A DUI Accident
At KNR, our attorneys understand that every DUI accident case is unique. Some courts may be more likely than others to award punitive damages in an impaired driving-related injury case.
When reviewing the evidence, it might become clear that the drunk driver was highly reckless. Their actions might show that they knew they were too drunk to drive.
Many DUIs are caused by people who had had previous arrests when intoxicated. Factors that might make your claim for punitive damages possible include:
- The level of intoxication – Blood Alcohol Content is tested to determine if a driver is over the legal drinking limit. For instance, a BAC over .17% is considered exceptionally high. Having a very high BAC can demonstrate extreme recklessness on the driver’s part, and Ohio courts can hand down enhanced punishments in this situation.
- Available assets – Even though courts may not consider a defendant’s assets when deciding to award compensation, you should pay attention to what a defendant owns. Punitive damages might be impossible to recover if the other party doesn’t have the money.
- The actions of other parties – Many DUI cases involve bartenders or homeowners who provided alcohol to an intoxicated person knowing they intended to get behind the wheel of a car. Depending on the facts of your case, it might be possible to seek punitive damages from such third parties, thanks to a dram shop law.
Punitive Damages Caps In Ohio
The devastation of a DUI accident can turn your life upside down. In addition to mounting medical bills, you might not be able to return to work or school for a long time. And even if you want to take the defendant for everything they’ve got, Ohio law may not allow that.
Ohio law caps the amount that can be recovered in punitive damages in personal injury lawsuits like those filed by the victims of drunk drivers. Ohio law limits the amount you can recover in punitive damages to twice the compensatory damages you recover.
Suppose you recover $100,000 for medical bills and reduced quality of life. That means you’ll be able to receive punitive damages up to $200,000 and no more. Furthermore, there is a hard cap for punitive damages at $350,000, and this will apply even if your compensatory damages surpass this amount.
A DUI Injury Lawyer From KNR Can Help You
You deserve the maximum compensation when you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of a drunk driver’s negligence in Ohio. This includes punitive damages when they’re available. Some courts may not allow such damages, and the liable party will try to limit what they have to pay. Having the right lawyer can strengthen your position and effectively demonstrate that punitive damages are appropriate in your DUI accident case. We also know how to gather evidence to properly document your medical bills, lost work, and pain and suffering, so you get maximum compensation.
Drunk drivers are all too common on Ohio streets. If an intoxicated driver hurt you or a loved one, contact Ohio’s injury attorneys at Kisling, Nestico & Redick. Let us review the details and pursue the financial recovery you deserve.
Call 1-800-HURT-NOW to set up a free, no-risk consultation.