Q: I was recently involved in an auto accident where I was driving through an intersection with the right-of-way. The other driver went through a stop sign without even slowing down and hit me broadside. My car was totaled. It turned out that the driver was drunk with a .22 breathalyzer reading. I had to have surgery on my shoulder, and my doctor tells me that it is likely that I will be left with a permanent disability. What is the best way to proceed?
A: This appears to be a clear case of liability against the intoxicated driver. After a lawsuit is started, it would not be surprising if the attorneys for the insurance company admit liability in an effort to keep the jury from learning about the aggravating factor that the defendant was intoxicated. In cases like this where highly intoxicated drivers cause injury to our client, we will almost always make a claim for punitive damages.
With the claim for punitive in the case, defense counsel will typically be precluded from admitting liability for tactical reasons. We were recently involved in a case where the appellate court upheld our right to seek punitive damages against a drunken driver. Of course, you also have a right to be compensated for your shoulder injury and the ensuing surgery.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident or you have a question that has not been answered, call Cellino & Barnes now at 1-800-888-8888 to contact our auto accident lawyers.