If you are injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. This can include compensating you for the medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering you endured from the trauma of the wreck and your injuries. You may also be entitled to punitive damages if you can prove that the drunk driver engaged in gross negligence.
What Is Gross Negligence in Drunk Driving Cases in Texas?
Punitive damages are also called exemplary damages and are awarded to punish the drunk driver, not to compensate you. They are not awarded in every case, and you must prove the driver’s gross negligence to be entitled to this type of damages. Gross negligence is defined in Texas as:
- A conscious and extreme lack of care that puts other motorists at significant risk. It is considered much more serious than a mere lapse in judgement.
- You have the burden of proving that the drunk driver engaged in gross negligence by clear and convincing evidence.
While more challenging to prove than negligence, gross negligence can be established. If you do so, a jury could award you significant punitive damages.
Is There a Cap on the Amount of Punitive Damages You Can Receive?
In Texas, there is a cap on punitive damages for drunk driving injury cases. You are entitled to the greater of these amounts:
- Two times the amount of economic damages, like medical bills and lost wages, not to exceed $750,000
- An amount equal to your noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, that is no greater than $200,000
Were you or a loved one injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver? The experienced drunk driving attorneys at The Hart Law Firm are committed to fighting for the compensation you deserve—including punitive damages. Contact us online or call our office at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We help injured victims of drunk drivers throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.