When you are hurt by a drunk driver, your car accident personal injury case is different. First there are punitive damages available under Utah law for DUI car accident cases.
Normally you have to prove punitive damages by clear and convincing evidence under Utah State Law.
However when a DUI car accident is involved you only have to prove punitive damages by a preponderance of the evidence, a lesser evidentiary standard than clear and convincing evidence. Utah Code Ann 78B-8-201 reads:
78B-8-201. Basis for punitive damages awards — Section inapplicable to DUI cases or providing illegal controlled substances — Division of award with state.
(1)(a) Except as otherwise provided by statute, punitive damages may be awarded only if compensatory or general damages are awarded and it is established by clear and convincing evidence that the acts or omissions of the tortfeasor are the result of willful and malicious or intentionally fraudulent conduct, or conduct that manifests a knowing and reckless indifference toward, and a disregard of, the rights of others.
(b) The limitations, standards of evidence, and standards of conduct of Subsection (1)(a) do not apply to any claim for punitive damages arising out of the tortfeasor’s:
(i) operation of a motor vehicle or motorboat while voluntarily intoxicated or under the influence of any drug or combination of alcohol and drugs as prohibited by Section 41-6a-502;
Many DUI car accidents may need to be tried to a jury to reach a fair amount of compensation. Choosing personal injury attorneys who have the guts to try a lawsuit to a jury verdict matters. Otherwise, your insurance claim will receive less than what is fair under the circumstances.
DUI CAR COLLISION CASES AND DRAM SHOP LIABILITY ACTIONS
In addition to the punitive damages in a DUI car collision car, Dram Shop Liability can attached to person who furnished the alcohol to the DUI driver that caused the injuries. Dramshop liability is a complex statute found at Utah Code Ann 32B-15-201 and any Utah personal injury attorney must carefully analyze the injury case for any possible cause of action.
There can be a shortened statute of limitations period on Dramshop actions that need to be attended to in a timely manner. See Utah Code 32B-15-301.
Personal injury attorney Jake Gunter can help. Call (801) 373-6345.