On Friday, January 18, 2012 a typical traffic accident between two drivers took a turn for the worse (no pun intended) when one of the drivers ran over the other driver when the victim attempted to exchange insurance and contact information (see Mandatory Exchange of Information After an Accident) following the accident. The perpetrator was later caught and arrested for suspicion of hit and run and suspicion of driving under the influence. The unfortunate reality of this incident is one which is all too familiar occurrence in traffic accidents throughout California and the rest of the country. A personal injury victim who was injured by an intoxicated driver will be able to pursue “punitive damages” against the at-fault party. However, these punitive damages will not be paid for by the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. An insurance carrier is never going to pay punitive damages on behalf of their insured, because car insurance policies do not provide payment of punitive damages, so the only ways to obtain this additional compensation is to be awarded it at trial or to request it directly from the at-fault party. Our auto accident lawyer has extensive experience dealing with accidents that involved an intoxicated driver. We make it very clear, when settling the claim, that the intoxicated driver must be held personally accountable and cannot simply hide behind their insurance company. Whatever the final offer is from the carrier, we then demand additional compensation, in the form of punitive damages, directly from the driver and make it very clear that if the at-fault party does not pay the demanded amount, then the amount they may be liable for, should the matter proceed to trial, will be much greater. Juries absolutely despise intoxicated drivers and have been known to award substantial amounts in punitive damages. It is not surprising that the insurance company then increases their offer to us, in hopes our client accepts it. The insurance adjuster makes it very clear, though, that they aren’t paying punitive damages. The insurance carrier knows they don’t want to subject their insured to a lawsuit, potentially exposing them to a very large judgement, nor do they want to pay for protracted litigation. Thus, while they’ll never admit they’re paying punitives, the extra money they offer for compensation might as well be just that. Contact our auto accident lawyer today if you have been the victim of a car accident and need assistance obtaining the compensation you deserve.
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