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If the Other Driver Was Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs, Can I Recover Double or Treble Money Damages Under Connecticut Law?
Whatever the amount of your economic and non-economic damages, if the driver of the vehicle that caused the auto, truck, or motorcycle accident was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of the accident, you might be able to recover double of treble damages pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 14-295, which provides as follows:
"In any civil action to recover damages resulting from personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property, the [judge or jury] may award double or treble damages if the injured party has specifically pleaded that another party has deliberately or with reckless disregard operated a motor vehicle in violation of section 14-218a [traveling unreasonably fast], 14-219 [speeding], 14-222 [driving recklessly], 14-227a [driving drunk or under the influence of drugs], 14-230 [failing to drive in the right lane], 14-234 [passing in a no-passing zone], 14-237 [driving the wrong way on a divided highway], 14-239 [driving the wrong way on a one-way street] or 14-240a [driving too close], and that such violation was a substantial factor in causing such injury, death or damage to property. The owner of a rental or leased motor vehicle shall not be responsible for such damages unless the damages arose from such owner's operation of the motor vehicle."
So if the other driver was drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time of the collision or accident in violation of the Connecticut General Statutes § 14-227a and that violation was a substantial factor in causing your injuries, our Auto Accident Law Group would ask the Judge or Jury to double or triple the amount of economic and non-economic damages that you should be awarded as compensation for all the harms, injuries, and losses you have suffered or will suffer because of the other person's improper conduct.
Please note two things with regard to Connecticut General Statutes § 14-295. First, the other driver does NOT have to be given a ticket for violating § 14-227a in order for us to make a claim for double or treble damages; if we can prove the other driver was PROBABLY under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in violation of the law and that that violation was a substantial factor in causing injury, damage, or death, we can and will make the claim. Second, Connecticut law allows Judges or Juries to award double or treble damages to send this very important message: reckless or deliberate violations of the rules of the road in the form of drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs is too dangerous and therefore will not be tolerated, thereby (hopefully) making our roads safer in the future for all of us.
Here is the relevant portion of the Connecticut General Statute § 14-227a, which prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor or drug or while having an elevated blood alcohol content:
"(a) Operation while under the influence or while having an elevated blood alcohol content. No person shall operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both. A person commits the offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both if such person operates a motor vehicle [in Connecticut] ... (1) while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both, or (2) while such person has an elevated blood alcohol content. For the purposes of this section, 'elevated blood alcohol content' means a ratio of alcohol in the blood of such person that is eight-hundredths of one per cent or more of alcohol, by weight...."
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or loss caused by a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, please contact our Connecticut Auto Accident Law Group to arrange a free and confidential consultation.