In Virginia if you are hurt by a drunk driver you can sometimes claim for punitive damages that go above and beyond what you receive in a settlement or verdict and are intended to punish the intoxicated driver?
But what about cases in which those who are hurt by a drunk driver only suffer minor injuries? A recent case in Fairfax, Virginia examined whether plaintiffs who were not seriously injured can still obtain substantial punitive damages.
In a recent case which was reported in Virginia Lawyers Weekly, two plaintiffs suffered minor injuries in a wreck when their car was hit by a drunken driver who was talking on his cell phone.
A jury awarded $5,600 to Victoria Coalson and $14,000 to Michael Stemke, according to Virginia Lawyers Weekly. However, each of them received punitive damages of $100,000.However, Judge Bruce D. White in Fairfax Circuit Court, reduced Coalson’s punitive damages award, saying the ratio between compensatory and punitive damages was too high.
The $100,000 award was reinstated in the high court, where the majority said the defendant should be punished for a day of binge drinking before the auto accident with injuries.
Drunk drivers are a scourge on the streets of Virginia. They cause considerable loss of life and injury. Just today my colleague Jim Hurley wrote about the death of a young man in York County, VA due to a combination of alcohol and speed.
If you have been hurt by a drunk driver, you may have a good case for compensation as well as punitive damages. Call Cooper Hurley at 757.455.0077 for a free consultation or see Cooperhurley.com