If you have been hurt in an accident caused by a drunk driver, a civil lawsuit is how you and your family can start the financial recovery process. Though the driver may have been carried away in handcuffs, the criminal charges will only punish the person who caused the accident in the only way that the criminal justice system knows how: with jail time, fines and fees to the state, loss of driving privileges, and so on.
The criminal system will not, however, compensate you and your loved ones for the costs of the accident. A personal injury lawsuit in civil court is how you seek compensation after a drunk driving accident, in the form of legal damages. Here are the types of damage awards frequently seen in DUI accident cases.
Economic damages are the fundamental costs of a car accident that can be tallied up by looking at the real costs. This type of compensation may include repayment for:
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Emergency treatment, hospitalization, follow-up care, and other medical expenses
- Lost wages due to time away from work
- Loss of future earnings due to an inability to perform the same work
This type of compensation is not as easily quantified as economic damages, but it can be just as important to the financial recovery process. Non-economic damages may include:
- Pain caused by your injuries
- Mental suffering, anguish, or emotional distress
- Damage to your reputation
- Aggravation of old injuries
Punitive Damages After a Drunk Driving Accident
In some cases, the behavior of the defendant was so despicable that the court may decide to award punitive damages. This type of award is rare, and it is designed to not only punish the guilty party, but also to use the guilty party as an example to discourage other people from committing the same offense. Though it is difficult to obtain punitive damages, an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer can pursue punitive damages by proving that the drunk driver showed conscious disregard for the safety of other South Carolinians when he chose to drive on our roadways after drinking alcohol.
Contact a South Carolina DUI Accident Lawyer
If you or your loved one have been seriously hurt by a drunk driver, you have our deepest sympathies. At the Law Office of Kenneth E. Berger, we work hard to help our community by representing those who have been injured in accidents caused by negligence or recklessness, and we are here to help you and your family when you need legal support. Call us today at 803-790-2800 (Columbia, SC) / 843-427-2800 (Myrtle Beach, SC), or start a live chat 24/7 with a real, live person to arrange a free and confidential consultation.