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How is DUI with Injury or Death Defined in Las Vegas?

— May 4, 2022

In Nevada, punitive damages are capped at $300,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is higher.

Las Vegas, NV – Las Vegas has a reputation as the city where the party never stops and it shows. The City of Sin is the worst for drunk driving in the country. According to a recent report, Las Vegas has 1,986 DUI arrests per 100K residents, which translates into an annual average of 4,311 drunk driving arrests.  

Drunk drivers who cause an accident face serious legal consequences, but the victims must file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit to recover damages. If you’re in such a situation, you should talk to the best Las Vegas DUI accident lawyers you can find to understand what your rights are. 

What is DUI with injury or death?

In Nevada, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. An intoxicated driver who commits an accident may be charged with DUI with injury or death, which is a class B felony offense and carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. 

Not all types of injuries warrant such a charge. The law refers only to serious bodily harm, such as:

  • Fractures / Loss of limb
  • Wounds requiring stitches
  • Organ damage
  • Paralysis
  • Serious burns
  • Concussions
  • Disfigurement
  • Chronic pain
  • Long term disability

As a rule, if you are in a serious accident, make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. Your lawyers will have to show your health issues are directly related to the crash.

How can I recover damages for a DUI accident in Las Vegas?

Nevada is an at-fault state so if you are injured in a car accident you can file a personal injury claim against the drunk driver’s insurance. You are entitled to compensatory damages, which include:

Economic damages – covering all your medical expenses (past and future), property damage, and your lost wages for the time you were recuperating after the accident. If you are left with a disability, you may also seek compensation for lost earning capacity.

X-ray of broken collar bone; image by Harlie Raethel, via
X-ray of broken collar bone; image by Harlie Raethel, via

Non-economic damages – compensating you for your physical and mental suffering. You can seek damages for loss of enjoyment in life, emotional distress, physical pain, the humiliation of living with a disfigurement or impairment for the rest of your life, etc.

Can I get punitive damages for a drunk driving accident in Las Vegas?

You will have to file a lawsuit to get punitive damages. Seasoned Las Vegas accident lawyers will probably advise you to wait for the end of the criminal trial if the driver is charged with DUI with injury or death. If the driver pleads guilty or is convicted by the jury, you can use this as proof that their conduct showed malice or conscious disregard for the life and safety of other road users. In other words, the driver knew or should have known that drinking and driving can have harmful consequences. 

In Nevada, punitive damages are capped at $300,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is higher.

Attorneys Near Me

If you’re looking for an accident lawyer or need professional help with other legal matters, you may be wondering “Where can I find Attorneys Near Me?” Don’t worry, help is just a few clicks away. Just follow the link to go to the extensive database on Select the legal area you’re interested in, your state and your city, and schedule a free consultation with a trustworthy lawyer in your area.  

Source: 10 Worst Cities for Drunk Driving (2021 Report)

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