Can You Recover Money to Punish a Drunk Driver that is at Fault?
Yes. In addition to being responsible for the actual damages, the law may impose, in the right circumstances, what is called punitive damages to punish a wrongdoer.
The statistics on drunk driving are shocking. According to Mother’s Against Drunk Driving almost every 90 seconds a person is injured in a drunk driving crash. The average drunk driver will have driven drunk 80 times before his first arrest. Every day in America another 28 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. In 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk driving crashes and over half of those over were riding with the drunk driver.
Kansas law will hold the drunk driver responsible for his negligence if his violation of this duty results in injury or harm to another person. We handle auto accident cases and it is shocking to see how many of those cases involved alcohol or other drug-related incidents.
The Kansas Statute provides that in any civil action in which exemplary or punitive damages are recoverable, the trier of fact shall determine, concurrent with all other issues presented, whether such damages shall be allowed. If such damages are allowed, a separate proceeding shall be conducted by the court to determine the amount of such damages to be awarded. At a proceeding to determine the amount of exemplary or punitive damages to be awarded under this section, the court may consider:
(1) The likelihood at the time of the alleged misconduct that serious harm would arise from the defendant’s misconduct;
(2) the degree of the defendant’s awareness of that likelihood;
(3) the profitability of the defendant’s misconduct;
(4) the duration of the misconduct and any intentional concealment of it;
(5) the attitude and conduct of the defendant upon discovery of the misconduct;
(6) the financial condition of the defendant; and
(7) the total deterrent effect of other damages and punishment imposed upon the defendant as a result of the misconduct, including, but not limited to, compensatory, exemplary and punitive damage awards to persons in situations similar to those of the claimant and the severity of the criminal penalties to which the defendant has been or may be subjected. In any civil action where claims for exemplary or punitive damages are included, the plaintiff shall have the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence in the initial phase of the trial, that the defendant acted toward the plaintiff with willful conduct, wanton conduct, fraud or malice.
We are a law firm of personal injury lawyers who understand law and how to obtain the best compensation for your injuries and whether punitive damages will apply in your case. We give you this information to help you make the right decision in your case.