I wanted today to talk a little bit about a holiday that is not really talked about too much in reference to fatalities and car accidents. That holiday, of course, is Saint Patrick’s day. According to the statistics, there’s about 30% of the fatalities during that two-day period from Saint Patrick’s day. Probably from March 16th or so to the 18th, where 30%, believe it or not, of all fatalities in the US are caused during that period from drinking and driving.
Speaking of drinking and driving, usually what happens is if you are caught drinking and driving, there’s increased penalties from a financial perspective. Number one, you can even, not only be sued, but we have what we call is punitive damages. That means that the person’s conduct by virtue of the fact that they were probably drinking drunk– Driving drunk, I should say, out there on the highways is a conduct that society wants to prevent and discourage.
In order to do that what happens is if you have a case where you’ve been struck by a drunk driver, you can actually get punitive damages against the driver for driving drunk. Now, that’s the case even if you don’t have that serious of an injury. I had a case, maybe within the last 30 to 40 days, where the insurance company didn’t want to pay that much money. I knew we had a pretty good case because it was a drinking and driving case. Initially, I think the offer was like $10,000 and the client’s medical bills weren’t that much. They were about 4,000.
I filed a lawsuit and because of the punitive damage aspect of the case alone and the defendant’s agreed, just conduct, just terrible conduct. We ended up settling the case for $25,000. That’s one aspect of it. The other thing is, especially during the Saint Patrick’s holiday, is people are at bars and so forth, drinking and driving and everything. There’s a few factors that come into play. Actually, there was a few years back, a police officer who was killed by a drunk driver who had been at a bar. The families of that–
Well, there were two police officers, actually, that were killed. Those two families filed a lawsuit not only against the driver but against the establishment that had been serving the particular individual all the alcohol the person was inebriated at the time of the collision. What happens is this. For the establishment, let’s say it’s, Joe Blows Bar down the street, and they’ve been serving somebody. You have to show, number one that the bartender knew that the person was drunk, inebriated.
You have to show that they knew that the person was going to be driving. The third factor is that you’ve got to show that that was the cause of the particular accident. The drinking and driving really causes a lot of accidents and deaths during the year. Actually, unfortunately, there is about 10,000 deaths that are caused from drinking and driving alone in the United States. If you have any questions as to whether you have a case and you’ve been struck by somebody who was drinking and driving, give me a call at 770-792-1000.