The answer will depend upon whether you decide to try and handle your claim yourself, or whether you enlist the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.  The most important difference in a case involving a drunk driver is the potential for collecting punitive damages from the at-fault driver.  In most car accident cases, injured victims are limited to collecting compensatory damages (i.e. damages meant to compensate, or “make whole”, the individual for the injuries caused.)  In contrast, punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and to serve as a message to others that such conduct will not be condoned.

The challenge in drunk driving cases arises in the fact that most drunk drivers do not have significant assets to collect to satisfy a punitive damage award.  In fact, many drunk drivers do not even have sufficient liability insurance to pay the full measure of the compensatory damages they cause.  Automobile insurance policies do not cover punitive damages awards, either.

However, drunk drivers often cause headaches for insurance companies and may force companies to offer insurance policy limits in drunk driving cases when they would not ordinarily do so.

For this reason, it is usually best for the victim of a drunk driving accident to contact an experienced car accident attorney to answer questions.

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