The potential for punitive damages under the new law regarding drinking while on the go, set to take effect in 2022.
With the start of 2022, new laws are implemented. One such law is SB 389, which allows restaurants to continue selling cocktails and wine on the go.
That’s right! When the pandemic shut down restaurants, laws governing sales of alcohol were loosened to allow the sale of alcohol to go. This new law extends the “cocktails-to-go” law until December 31, 2026.
Admittedly, I have never purchased alcohol on the go. So, I do not know how they are packaged. I trust that any alcohol sold to go would be in a closed container, preventing the driver from drinking while driving!
Justifying punitive damages against the drunk driver
But, what would happen if a driver, who was or had been drinking, gets into an accident? Driving under the influence of alcohol (or drugs) can be characterized as conduct that is outrageous, violent, wanton, wicked, reckless, and showing utter disregard for the rights and interests of others, thus justifying a demand for punitive damages against the drunk driver.
Indeed, the only time an accident victim is allowed to seek punitive damages in an auto accident is when the accident is caused by a drunk driver. However, certain allegations must first be made, and certain facts must then be established, before an accident victim is allowed to seek and recover punitive damages. For example, the accident victim must allege that the defendant driver (i.e. the drunk driver) knew he/she was intoxicated and knew that others could be seriously injured by him/her getting behind the wheel.
It’s not simple to claim punitive damages, and even more challenging to prove them if you do
Punitive damages are not easy to allege and even harder to prove. For this reason, it is important to consult with and use an experienced injury attorney if you have been injured by a drunk driver.
Since 1997, I (Mason Rashtian) have handled thousands of car accident cases, both as a defense attorney and as a plaintiff’s attorney. So, I am very versed in all aspects of car accident cases, including those involving drunk drivers. For a free consultation, please contact our office.
This article is brought to you by Mason Rashtian of The Mason Law Firm, a full-service personal injury attorney and accident lawyer. We represent clients all throughout California and Los Angeles County, including the Santa Clarita Valley, Valencia, Stevenson Ranch, Canyon Country, Newhall, and the entire San Fernando Valley.
We can be reached at (661) 270-5677.
This article is meant for informational purposes only.