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How punitive damages are awarded in auto accident cases

Car accidents in Louisiana claim hundreds of lives and leave many people injured every year. Even though various highway and byway safety measures are out there, auto accidents keep occurring. The law provides several remedies for auto accident victims, with additional remedies to victims when the defendant is under the influence of alcohol. There are a number of examples that highlight how being intoxicated makes it even more likely that a plaintiff will win additional damages.

Article 2315.4 of the Louisiana Civil Code makes provisions for additional damages when the defendant in a car accident is intoxicated. The Article provides for special damages in addition to general damages when it is proved that the injuries suffered by the plaintiff are a direct consequence of a defendant's intoxicated state and a wanton disregard for the safety and rights of others.

In several cases, the courts have awarded exemplary damages to victims of car accidents. In order to clarify the law, courts have also enumerated the instances that count as proof of intoxication. For instance, in one case it was held that a wide variety of things may be considered as proof of intoxication, such as breathalyzer test results, blood alcohol level, alcohol odor, erratic driving, balance issues and slurred speech.

Along with proof of intoxication, failure to obey traffic signals, inexplicable driving behavior, disregard for road safety rules and causing an accident may be reason enough for the court to award exemplary damages. Intoxicated driving in Louisiana is not only dangerous, but it can be a road to punitive damages for the guilty driver.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Driving While Intoxicated; A Formula for Punitive Damages," Accessed on Aug. 15, 2014

Source: FindLaw.com, "Driving While Intoxicated; A Formula for Punitive Damages," Accessed on Aug. 15, 2014

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