DRUNK DRIVERS MADE TO PAY
When another person is careless and causes a car crash, those affected often feel anger and frustration at the other driver. For many people, these feelings lessen as time passes because we recognize that accidents do happen. However, when the other driver was drunk or was texting on a cell phone when they caused a serious car crash, it is much harder to accept what has happened. The law does provide additional remedies for the victim of a drunk driver. These remedies are available to victims of drunk drivers who live in Lorain or Cuyahoga County or anywhere in the State of Ohio.
At Miraldi and Barrett, we have handled many Ohio personal injury cases in which the other driver’s behavior is beyond negligent. Ohio law provides both for compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages cover those harms and losses that include medical bills, lost wages, pain, discomfort, and loss of ability to perform various activities. Punitive damages are awarded in certain cases in order to punish the other person and these damages are beyond the compensatory damages.
Ohio law does not allow punitive damages when the other driver was merely negligent. However, punitive damages may be awarded when the other driver shows a conscious disregard for the rights of others on the road by voluntarily drinking and becoming unfit to operate a motor vehicle and then begins operating a car. This irresponsible drunken behavior goes beyond negligence. The law may allow punitive damages against the drunk driver as a punishment and deterrent to keep that driver from behaving that way in the future. Punitive damages are not covered by the other driver’s auto insurance and must be paid from the intoxicated driver's own resources.
The lawyers at Miraldi and Barrett have represented many residents of Lorain County in their personal injury claims, and have included claims for punitive damages when the other driver was intoxicated. In order to obtain punitive damages, in almost all cases the attorney and client must be willing to take the case to trial. In most cases, a jury must decide whether punitive damages should be awarded in any particular case. For a recent case involving the award of punitive damages against a drunk driver, go to this link.