DUI Auto Accidents in PA
The 2014 holiday season is almost over. With New Years around the corner, we can certainly expect to see an influx of impaired driving car and pedestrian accidents. Impaired driving includes both drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs or drugged driving.
While drunk driving accidents have generally decreased over the past few years, rates of driving under the influence of drugs have increased. However, drunk driving and related deaths still greatly outnumber drugged driving and related deaths by almost 3 to 1.
According to PennDOT, there are over 3,000 drugged driving car accidents each year. In addition, the number of fatalities related to driving under the influence of drugs has increased. In 2012, there were 126 fatalities in drugged driving car accidents, and in 2013, there were 143 fatalities.
The same data shows that alcohol related car accidents and alcohol related car accident deaths have decreased over the past 2-3 years. There were roughly 12,000 DUI car accidents and over 400 deaths in 2012, while in 2013, there were just over 11,000 DUI car accidents and roughly 370 related deaths. The PennDot data shows that combined, there are nearly 15,000 DUI (alcohol/drugs) accidents each year and over 500 related deaths.
Drunk Driving Accidents in Pennsylvania & Liability
Individuals who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs can face both criminal and civil liability, if an accident occurs. The civil outcome depends on the severity of the accident and resulting injuries.
More: What is a UIM claim in Pennsylvania?
Criminal Liabilities for Driving Under the Influence in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, drivers who are convicted of impaired driving face a number of penalties including jail time, license suspension, probation, court costs/fees, etc. In cases where a DUI car accident results in injury or worse, a fatality, the DUI driver is likely to spend time in jail or prison, depending on the extent of the injuries.
Civil Liabilities – Causing a DUI Auto Accident in Pennsylvania
DUI auto accidents are often very serious accidents. High speeds and reckless driving, coupled with impairment often result in catastrophic injuries. For instance, a head-on collision at high speed is highly likely to result in major spinal and brain injuries or death.
Under Pennsylvania law, drivers who get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs may face civil liability. Injured drivers, passengers and pedestrians can file auto accident lawsuits to obtain financial recovery against DUI drivers. In addition, other parties may face liability. For example, a bar or restaurant which negligently served alcohol to a DUI driver may also face liability and be court ordered to pay financial compensation to an injured victim. In cases of death, surviving family members may bring wrongful death and survival actions against DUI drivers and other parties.
Claims for Financial Compensation in a Civil DUI Car Accident Lawsuit in PA
Under PA tort laws, an injured DUI accident victim (plaintiff) may make claims for the following types of damages:
- medical bills,
- lost wages,
- other economic expenses, and
- pain and suffering.
In addition, DUI car accident victims may recover punitive damages from a DUI driver. Punitive damages are designed to punish a party for egregious conduct, like getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
More: Punitive Damage Claims in Pennsylvania Car Accident Cases
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers
Laffey, Bucci & Kent is a Philadelphia injury and accident law firm. Our lawyers have obtained almost $200 million in verdicts and settlements for clients. Please call the firm for more information or to schedule a free initial consultation. (866) 641-0806
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