Recovering damages after an accident with a drunk driver is not very different from recovering damages after any type of crash. The main difference, however, is that after a collision caused by a drunk driver, you might also be eligible to recover punitive damages.
It is vital to seek compensation after a crash. The best way to do this is to hire a lawyer to negotiate a fair settlement or pursue compensation through a lawsuit.
Damages After a Drunk Driving Crash
As with any car crash where another driver is at fault, you might be able to pursue a lawsuit for economic damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Property damage
You might also be eligible for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering and emotional distress.
In a drunk driving case, victims might also get punitive damages. These are not based on any tangible loss but are designed to punish the at-fault party who exhibited reckless behavior by making the decision to drive drunk. The amount of punitive damages awarded is often left up to a jury or a judge. According to Alaska law, there is a cap on the amount that can be awarded: three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater. Alaska's split-recovery law requires that half of the punitive damages award goes to the state of Alaska for the general fund, which pays for government operations, basic services, and capital improvements.
It's important to note that punitive damages will be taxed by the federal government. This money must be claimed on your income tax form as “other income.”
Contact an Attorney
If you’ve been injured after being in a crash caused by a drunk driver, you need to have an attorney on your side to help you recover damages. Even if it is obvious that the drunk driver caused the accident, you will still need to gather evidence to help with your case, and a vehicle accident attorney can help. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by using the form on this page.