What Are My Rights After Suffering Injuries in an Accident Caused by a Drunk Driver in Pennsylvania?
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, alcohol use and speeding contribute to the majority of car accidents throughout Pennsylvania. Alcohol-related crashes remain a major safety issue, and in 2014, there were 10,550 crashes due to impaired drivers. Statistics also indicate that in 2014, alcohol-related deaths were 28% of the total traffic deaths. Statistics also indicate that the majority of alcohol-related deaths take place between 8:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., with the majority of these fatal crashes occurring on the weekend.
The public health concern regarding drunk driving continues to remain high. For those accident victims suffering physically and emotionally from the effects of a drunk driving accident, Pennsylvania law provides a means to recover compensation. In many cases, the driver will be charged by the state and face criminal proceedings. But victims of drunk driving collisions can file a separate personal injury claim to recover costs for medical treatment, as well as expenses related to pain and suffering and loss of income due to the accident.
Unfortunately, the occupants of a struck vehicle often suffer more serious injuries than the impaired driver. Recovering full compensation following a drunk driving accident requires setting forth medical evidence documenting the true impact of the injuries. Injuries caused by a drunk driver can require long hospital stays, massive medical expenses, and long-term care.
Insurance companies may, despite the seriousness of a drunk driving accident, attempt to minimize their financial obligations to injured individuals. They may offer settlement awards far below a fair level of compensation. The burden remains on accident victims to prove their injuries were caused by the drunk driving accident. Through expert medical testimony, if necessary, and strong documented evidence, such as hospital bills and receipts associated with medical care, victims will be able to set forth the true extent of their harm.
Following a drunk driving accident, punitive damages may be awarded if the defendant driver’s conduct was particularly egregious. A judge or jury will assess and award these damages in order to punish the defendant for their conduct. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages, including damages for emotional distress.
If a drunk driver has caused the death of a loved one, their surviving family or a personal representative may pursue a wrongful death claim. Losses that may be recovered following the death of a loved one include job-related benefits and lost wages, as well as the loss of companionship. When a wrongful act, such as a drunk driving accident, has led to the loss of a loved one, the law provides for compensation for losses suffered from the untimely death.
A skilled auto accident lawyer can protect your right to recovery following a drunk driving accident. Whether negotiating for a settlement or litigating in court, at Needle Law, our dedicated car accident attorneys have the experience and tenacity to advocate on your behalf. To learn more about how we can help you and your family following a vehicle crash caused by a drunk driver, call our office at 570-344-1266 or complete our online form. We provide a complimentary consultation at no cost.