DUI Accident Attorney Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
PA Personal Injury Lawyer Helps DUI Accident Victims Get Compensated in Allegheny County, Butler County, and Throughout Western Pennsylvania
DUI accidents are unfortunately common — in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States at large. According to a 2016 report conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 10,497 fatalities due to alcohol-impaired automobile crashes, and more than 111 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving. As such, it’s not at all unlikely for your Pennsylvania auto collision lawsuit to involve a drunk (or otherwise impaired) driver-defendant.
Here at Berger & Lagnese, LLC, our Pittsburgh DUI accident attorneys have a consistent track record of success in litigating claims against drunk driver defendants in Erie, New Castle, Uniontown, Greensburg, and everywhere else in Western PA. We encourage you to get in touch with a qualified Pittsburgh DWI accident attorney for further guidance so that you can evaluate (and potentially litigate) your claims in a timely manner.
Civil Liability in the DUI Context in Erie, Pennsylvania
If you have been injured by a driver who was operating their motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and thereby impaired, it will be significantly easier for you to prove that the defendant was liable. Since it is against the law in Pennsylvania to drive while under the influence, proof of intoxication will suffice. You will not have to show that the defendant’s behavior was “out of line” in relation to the standard of care typically expected of PA motorists. Simply put: drunk or drug-impaired driving is always a violation of the standard of care and can lead to liability in the civil context in Pennsylvania.
Critically, the defendant in a Pittsburgh DUI accident case is not necessarily liable for your injuries unless you can show that their impairment actually caused your injuries. For example, if the defendant-driver was intoxicated at the time of the motor vehicle accident, but it later comes to be known that the collision occurred due to a blown-out tire (which had nothing to do with the driver’s intoxication), then the defendant may be able to avoid civil liability on the basis of their intoxicated driving.
Potential Punitive Damages in Uniontown DUI Accident Cases
In Pennsylvania, punitive damages are rarely awarded, and typically only in situations where the defendant has engaged in malicious or otherwise egregious conduct in which the risk of injury posed to others was willfully (or recklessly) disregarded. DUI accidents may qualify for an award of punitive damages, depending on the circumstances. This is quite uncommon, however, and therefore should not be relied upon.
Punitive damages are intended to discourage others from engaging in similar behavior, and as such, the damage amounts tend to be extremely high. Punitive damages operate as a multiplier on the compensatory damages. For example, if you are entitled to $100,000 in compensatory damages, then you may be entitled to a three-times multiplier for the punitive award, giving a grand total of $400,000 ($100,000 compensatory + $300,000 punitive).
Common Defenses to a DUI Accident Claim in Butler, PA
There are a number of arguments that defendants may utilize when sued in a DUI accident lawsuit (to minimize or avoid liability altogether), including:
- The defendant was involuntarily intoxicated.
- There was an intervening cause that “broke” the chain of causation connecting the defendant’s misconduct with your injuries.
- The defendant was intoxicated but not in physical control of the vehicle.
- The defendant was not actually intoxicated or impaired.
- The plaintiff did not adequately mitigate their damages.
- The plaintiff was also negligent.
It is important for your Pittsburgh drunk driving accident attorney to be aware of these potential defenses so that they can be combated during negotiations and, if necessary, at trial.
Contact an Experienced Pittsburgh Personal Injury Attorney for Legal Assistance with Your Pennsylvania DUI Accident Claim
If you have suffered injuries and other losses in a PA auto accident involving a drunk driver, then you may be entitled to significant damages under Pennsylvania law. When bringing an action against a drunk driver defendant, however, certain aspects of litigation — and the case strategy that you employ — will be quite different than a “standard” car accident lawsuit. You’ll therefore want to consult with a team of attorneys with specific experience relating to DUI accident lawsuits. This will maximize your chances of securing a favorable resolution to your DUI accident injury dispute.
Here at Berger & Lagnese, LLC in Pittsburgh, PA, our DUI accident lawyers have decades of experience advocating on behalf of injured clients, including scenarios in which the defendant was driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We are a results-oriented firm, and our personalized, comprehensive approach to litigation has served us well over the years — we have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements in a wide range of personal injury litigation.
Call (412) 471-4300 or send a message through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our Pittsburgh DUI crash attorneys today. We look forward to helping you pursue your personal injury claims.