In our last post, we wrote about the unfortunate reality that pedestrian accidents in Boston are actually higher than statistics show, due to lack of reporting. We also noted that it is important for pedestrians who are harmed by a motorist understand their rights. This is particularly the case when injuries are serious and the accident was caused by obvious wrongdoing.

An example of this type of situation is an accident that occurred on Thursday in Gloucester, where a drunk driver struck a woman walking on the side of the road. Fortunately, the woman’s injuries were not life-threatening, but the driver was found to have been intoxicated, with a blood-alcohol content of .16, which is twice the legal limit. The driver has since been charged with several offenses related to the incident, including alcohol offenses and speeding. 

Sources didn’t say whether the woman would be seeking legal action against the driver. Criminal charges, of course, do nothing to personally compensate an accident victim. In personal injury litigation, on the other hand, victims are able to seek various forms of damages to compensate them for injuries and losses.

In some cases, particularly those involving egregious behavior, accident victims are able to obtain punitive damages in personal injury litigation. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages have the purpose of punishing the offending party and acting as a deterrent. Punitive damages are only rarely available, though, and it is important to work with an experienced attorney when seeking them to ensure the best possible case is put forward in court.

Source: Gloucester Times, “Man faces DUI charge, victim recovering after car-pedestrian crash,” Arianna MacNeill, September 4, 2014.