Punitive Damages in Drunk Driving Accidents in Missouri and Illinois. When you are injured in a drunk driving accident, it is a good idea to sue the driver so you can receive compensation for your injuries. The drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law have seen every type of car accident case and have recovered over $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients. However, when it comes to cases as egregious as drunk driving, we don't stop at simply getting you compensation for your damages. We sue drunk drivers for punitive damages so they know not to get behind the wheel drunk again. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, call Burger Law's drunk driving accident lawyers today at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free case review.
Types of Damages in Drunk Driving Accidents
Typically, the damages awarded in personal injury cases are called "compensatory damages," and are meant to compensate the victim for the financial (economic damages) and emotional (noneconomic damages) burden of their injury. Examples of compensatory damages are:
- Medical expenses, such as:
- Hospital bills and doctors appointments
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Ambulance expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering due to:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of ability to enjoy life
- Loss of consortium
In some especially egregious personal injury and drunk driving accident cases, a plaintiff may also seek punitive damages, which serve an additional purpose to simply compensating them.
Punitive Damages in Drunk Driving Accident Cases in Missouri and Illinois
Both Missouri and Illinois allow plaintiffs to seek punitive damages in personal injury and drunk driving accident cases. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish a drunk driver for their reckless behavior and deter other Missouri and Illinois drivers from getting behind the wheel drunk. When we sue drunk drivers, we seek punitive damages so they can be made an example of. Hopefully, this makes Missouri and Illinois roadways safer for everyone.
In Illinois, a plaintiff must ask for punitive damages when they file their lawsuit, but the determination of whether or not punitive damages will be awarded will only happen after compensatory damages are awarded. In order to receive punitive damages, Illinois Compiled Statute Chapter 735 5/1-1115.05 states that:
a plaintiff must show by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant's conduct was with evil motive or with a reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and with a conscious indifference to the rights and safety of others.
In Missouri, Senate Bill 591 states that the claimant must prove:
by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others.
Because the consequences of drunk driving are well known, the fact that the driver was drunk is often enough to prove the defendant recklessly disregarded the safety of others on the Missouri and Illinois roadways. Burger Law's drunk driving accident lawyers have over two decades of experience holding drunk drivers accountable for their actions. When you hire us after being injured in a drunk driving accident, you can be sure you will get the maximum compensation you deserve.
In addition to achieving justice and making our roads safer, punitive damages have another benefit: they often force insurance companies to offer a large settlement before a case goes to trial. This is because punitive damages are not covered in insurance policies.
Missouri and Illinois Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
At Burger Law, our talented and veteran drunk driving accident lawyers have over two decades of experience standing up to bullies and the people who think they can break the rules and jeopardize your safety. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident call Burger Law's drunk driving accident lawyers now at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free consultation.