Wrong-way Driving Virginia Punitive Damage Lawyers King and Queen County
ABRAHAM MILTON V. ROBERTSON GEORGE
The injury victim’s vehicle collided head-on with that of the driver, who was driving the wrong way down the highway. The driver later pled guilty to the charge of driving under the influence. The trial court struck the injury victim’s evidence relating to punitive damages. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the injury victim for compensatory damages. The injury victim appealed from the adverse action on her claim for punitive damages. On appeal, the driver contended that punitive damages could be awarded in vehicular accident cases only for malicious conduct and that there was no showing of malice. Appellant injury victim filed a complaint against appellee driver in the Circuit Court of Roanoke County (Virginia) for compensatory and punitive damages stemming from an automobile accident.
- Whether the defendant charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving?
The court held that a conscious disregard of the rights of others could be proven by means other than a defendant’s subjective statements. The objective fact that the driver voluntarily consumed enough intoxicants to produce a reading of 0.22 percent blood alcohol content, causing him to drive as he did, provided sufficient proof of his conscious disregard of the rights of others. It was clear that negligence that was so willful or wanton as to have evinced a conscious disregard of the rights of others, as well as malicious conduct, supported an award of punitive damages in a personal injury case. The driver’s negligence rose to the necessary level of wantonness. Upon the egregious set of facts presented, the injury victim was entitled to have a jury consider her claim for punitive damages. The court reversed the judgment of the trial court insofar as it disallowed the recovery of punitive damages, and remanded the case for a new trial limited to consideration of such damages.
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Article written by A Sris
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