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Victims may get punitive damages in drunk driving accidents

Drunk driving is the cause of many accidents every year in Lafayette, Louisiana, and it is one of the most common forms of distracted driving. Intoxication impairs a driver's judgment and hinders a driver's reflexes. Courts will often examine the various aspects of a drunk driving case in order to determine the severity of the punishment for the driver who was responsible for a car accident.

Drunk driving is a traffic violation, so any car accident caused by reckless drunk driving falls under Louisiana Civil Code, Article 2315.4. At our law firm we have observed that punitive damages can be awarded in any personal injury or accident case where the court believes that it is necessary to award damages beyond monetary compensation for medical costs. In such cases, however, the victim's attorneys need to prove that the car accident injuries, or even fatalities, were directly linked to the driver's state of intoxication.

The victim's attorneys often bring forth evidence collected by the police officers who investigated the car accident. In addition to the medical reports and the evidence collected from the accident investigation that detailed the extent of the damage the victim suffered, the courts may also look into the field sobriety test reports conducted on the driver.

Such standardized field sobriety tests can include a breathalyzer test, walk and turn tests or even reciting the alphabets backwards. Cases that have proved the intoxication level of the negligent driver and provided the details of the car accident victim's injuries have resulted in significant compensation by Louisiana courts.

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