DUI Car Accidents in Pennsylvania and Punitive Damages For DUI Accidents

DUI accidents are unfortunately common. People who chose to get behind the wheel of a car when under the influence can turn a car into a deadly weapon. Oftentimes, the accidents are quite severe and the injuries even worse. Many times, the types of losses are staggering. From medical expenses and property damage, to lost wages and pain and suffering, oftentimes the minimal liability policies are not enough. Punitive damages are a potential, additional avenue of recovery for victims of DUI car accidents. They can be particularly useful at settlement.
Under Pennsylvania law, these special damages are designed to punish people for intentional, willful, wanton or reckless conduct. The standard under Pennsylvania Law for awarding punitive damages is also well established. Recently, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reiterated the standard as follows:
Assessment of such damages are proper when a person’s actions are of such an outrageous nature as to demonstrate intentional, willful, wanton or reckless conduct, and are awarded to punish that person Demand Letters Personal Injury for such conduct. In other words, punitive damages are awarded only for outrageous conduct, that is, for acts done with a bad motive or with a reckless indifference to the interests of others.
Vance v. 46 And 2, Inc., 920 A.2d 202 (Pa Super. 2007).
In these kinds of cases, many times, defendants attempt to dismiss these special damages claims by way of preliminary motions. They may file preliminary objections arguing that there are no grounds to allow a claim for punitive damages. However, many Pennsylvania courts have upheld punitive damages claims in motor vehicle cases involving a defendant who was driving under the influence. The reasoning is that getting in the driver’s seat when impaired is reckless conduct that shows a blatant disregard for others on the road. Reckless and outrageous conduct is sufficient to give rise to an award of punitive damages. A defendant’s conduct is particularly outrageous especially with second or third time DUI offenders.
Julia Lee has represented victims of DUI car Attorney In Fact Meaning accidents. For more information, go to

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