We have spoken about punitive damages in drunk driving cases and what it means if you can win a claim for those damages. Unfortunately, in Virginia, unless your accident was caused by someone who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .15 percent at the time of the accident, it is hard to get Courts to accept a punitive damage claim, even for the most egregious conduct of a driver, whether they have been drinking or not.
That being said, there is a line of cases in Virginia that is an exception to the rule. Those cases involve professional truck drivers. Professional drivers are held to a higher standard because they go through a specialized training course. They are trained to observe numerous rules of the road, including the hours they are permitted to drive without relief, the setting out of cones and triangles if their truck becomes disabled, and numerous other rules and regulations that are designed to protect the public from harm. They are also taught the purpose of each of those rules and how a violation of those rules may cause injury to other drivers using the road.
In several Virginia cases, the Courts have said—especially where there is evidence of a previous violation by the truck driver of one of these rules—that if a truck driver violates one of these important Rules and an injury to another driver results, the truck driver may be liable for punitive damages in addition to the normal damages awarded in an injury case.
That is why it is particularly important that in the event you or someone close to you is injured or killed in a commercial truck accident, a lawyer is retained who knows what needs to be done in order to explore the possibility of getting a punitive damage award. In Virginia, that award could be up to an additional $350,000.00.
Joe Miller has been representing injured people in Virginia and North Carolina for over 25 years. He has handled numerous commercial truck injury cases and stands ready to assist you or your family as a result of any injury or death caused by a negligent truck driver.