If a Southeastern Kentucky resident or their family members suffer a severe injury or dies because of a motor vehicle accident, they will no doubt have a lot to process emotionally.

The feelings of anger and frustration can be pronounced after a drunk driving accident. After all, there have been so many warnings and tragedies that it would seem no one would think of getting behind a wheel after having too much to drink or ingesting drugs.

Sadly, many people continue to make bad decisions and hurt people.

Punitive damages are recoverable in drunk driving cases

After a drunk or drugged driving accident, a victim may want to consider seeking punitive damages. In Kentucky, punitive damages can provide additional compensation above and beyond their medical bills, lost wages and other actual losses.

In a drunk driving case, the point of punitive damages is just to reinforce that drunk driving is completely unacceptable.

However, punitive damages are not automatic and, in fact, are designed to be more difficult to recover than other types of damages. Whether a victim can recover punitive damages will depend heavily on the facts and circumstances of their case.

How to go about recovering damages

Unfortunately, a drunk driver will often not have adequate insurance or other means to pay for the damages he or she causes.

In such cases, a victim may have to explore other options for recovery.

For example, benefits for uninsured motorists coverage or underinsured motorists coverage may allow a victim to get additional compensation from his or her own insurance company. Kentucky also has a system of so-called no-fault insurance which may allow for compensation.

Finally, the victim may be able to recover compensation from other responsible parties. If the driver was operating a commercial vehicle, for instance, then the company for which the driver was working may also owe compensation to the victims.

Additionally, in Kentucky, a drinking establishment can be held liable for serving someone who is obviously drunk even if the person was of age.