The use of the term “accident” when a drunk driver is involved may not be justified. If the drinking defendant had an exceptionally high blood alcohol level or was so drunk that he refused to take the breath test, then he should have known that to get behind the wheel was asking to be the cause of someone’s death or severe injury.
In such cases Virginia law gives the injured person the right to sue for damages over and above the usual damages allowed in personal injury cases. In addition to damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, inconvenience and permanent injuries, the law says that the wrongdoer must pay punitive damages.
Punitive damages are damages to be assessed like a fine to deter future such misconduct. Some drunk driving defendants have been previously convicted of earlier drunk driving charges. They have been to schools and rehabilitation counseling sessions. Despite that they knew that when they began drinking they were going to be driving later. They chose to drink anyway and knew that they were putting other innocent people at risk of severe injury or death. In such cases punitive damages are not only warranted but justice demands them and the insurance companies know that.
If you have been injured by a drunk driver you need representation in order to recover all the damages that the law allows.