In Texas, drunk driving is a significant contributor to property damage. If your property has been harmed as a result of a drunk driver’s actions, you have the right to seek compensation for the damages incurred. It is important to note that insurance companies often fail to inform you about the possibility of receiving punitive damages. These damages serve as a monetary punishment for the drunk driver, aiming to discourage them from engaging in similar behavior in the future. To pursue punitive damages for property damage claims caused by drunk driving in Dallas-Fort Worth, here is what you need to do.
Tort Law in Texas
Property damage claims resulting from drunk driving are governed by Texas’ tort law. Tort law refers to the civil law that addresses wrongful conduct and provides remedies for those who have suffered harm or injury as a result of someone else’s actions. A property damage claim can arise when a person’s property is damaged due to the negligence of another party. To establish a property damage claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care, breached that duty, and that the breach caused the damages.
In cases where a defendant is deemed jointly and severally liable, their liability for damages is contingent upon certain conditions. Specifically, if the defendant’s percentage of responsibility exceeds 50% or if they have intentionally caused harm and committed a felony such as murder or kidnapping, they will be held accountable for the damages recoverable by the claimant. However, it is important to note that the defendant’s liability is determined after the total award has been reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of responsibility and the dollar amounts of any settlements that have been reached.
Winning Punitive Damages
Punitive damages serve as a means of retribution for the defendant’s wrongful behavior and are granted when the defendant’s actions were intentional or malicious. The primary objective of punitive damages is to dissuade the defendant from repeating their misconduct in the future and to convey a strong message to others that such actions will not be tolerated. Malice denotes a deliberate intention to cause harm, while willfulness refers to an intentional act that the defendant knew would likely result in harm. Wantonness, on the other hand, signifies a reckless disregard for the safety of others.
Collecting Evidence and Proving Liability
When pursuing a claim, it is crucial to gather and present substantial evidence to strengthen the case. This evidence plays a vital role in establishing the defendant’s responsibility and determining the full extent of the plaintiff’s damages. Some examples of evidence include proving that the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the accident, demonstrating that the defendant’s actions directly caused the damages, providing evidence of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff, such as repair costs or loss of property use, and showing that the defendant’s behavior was willful, wanton, or malicious. By presenting such evidence, the plaintiff can enhance their chances of receiving the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Filing a property damage claim necessitates the inclusion of a police report as a vital piece of evidence. The police report encompasses crucial information regarding the individuals involved, the accident’s location, and the circumstances surrounding it. Additionally, it provides specific details about the weather and road conditions prevailing at the time of the incident. Serving as an official record, the police report holds significant value as admissible evidence in a court of law.
Liability and coverage assessment can be facilitated through the utilization of insurance details. By examining the defendant’s insurance information, one can determine the extent of coverage that can be utilized to compensate for any damages incurred. Similarly, the plaintiff’s insurance information can aid in establishing the available coverage for the repair or replacement of their property.
In property damage claims, eyewitness accounts play a crucial role as a form of evidence. They offer valuable insights into the accident that the plaintiff might have missed. For example, an eyewitness might have observed the defendant driving recklessly prior to the incident. By providing such accounts, eyewitnesses aid in determining liability and strengthening the plaintiff’s case for compensation.
Photos & Video
Utilizing photographs as evidence is a valuable tool in bolstering a property damage claim. These visual representations play a crucial role in determining the magnitude of the harm endured by the claimant. By capturing images of the accident site, the vehicles implicated, and the destruction inflicted upon the claimant’s property, one can effectively establish both liability and the full extent of the damages incurred.
The cost of repairing the plaintiff’s property can be determined by utilizing repair estimates, which can be acquired from either a licensed repair shop or an appraiser. These estimates should encompass both the expenses for parts and the labor required to restore the plaintiff’s property. To ensure an accurate assessment of the damages incurred, it is crucial to obtain multiple repair estimates.
IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED IN A CAR, TRUCK, OR MOTORCYCLE WRECK CAUSED BY A DRUNK DRIVER, CONTACT THE LAW OFFICE OF BRIAN BRUNSON TODAY.
Named one of the “Best Car Accident Lawyers in Dallas” by Expertise.com, Brian Brunson is Dallas personal injury attorney who is dedicated to helping clients who have suffered a car, truck, or motorcycle injury through the negligent or wrongful conduct of other drivers. In addition, his professionalism is unmatched and the firms’ client reviews speak for themselves.
We proudly serve the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and surrounding areas, our office supports the legal needs of a wide variety of clients. Let the Law Office of Brian Brunson be your advocate in your time of need and help you put your life back together. If we can’t win or settle your case, you don’t pay a dime! We know it can be daunting to take that first step after you’ve been hurt. Contact Brian Brunson today via email or call us toll-free at 1-844-41-WRECK. We can help, when no one else will.