Proof and Damages in Drunk Driving Cases

In drunk driving/DUI/DWI cases, at ABRAMS LANDAU we can sometimes bring a claim for punitive or exemplary damages. Punitive damages are allowed by the courts in cases where the evidence supports a finding of “willful, wanton and reckless misconduct” on the part o the Defendant drunk driver or stoned vehicle operator. This is “punishment” compensation that arises out of the grossly negligent or egregiously bad acts by a drunk driver. While other injury case compensation is paid to cover the injuries and harm that has been caused to the victim, punitive damages are paid as a form of punishment to the drunk driver who caused the car wreck and to prevent others from engaging in the same dangerous conduct.

If there has been a criminal conviction, we may be able to use evidence and testimony from the Traffic Court or Criminal proceedings in the civil injury lawsuit. In some cases, we are able to offer evidence of a DUI/DWI drinking plea of guilty by the drunk driver. However, in many states, if the drunk driver does not plead guilty (but is found guilty) the law prohibits offering the fact of the conviction. Do not get confused-even if the conviction itself is not admissible in the civil personal injury trial, we can still offer any proof to show that the driver was drunk, stoned or “under the influence” if there are sufficient facts and/or witnesses. We can offer evidence of drunken behavior, of field sobriety testing, of a BAC result or medical test results. If you or someone you know has been injured because of a drunk, impaired or stoned driver, e-mail us at or call 703-796-9555 at once.

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