Midland Police Officer Xavier Ramon is continuing to recover after his patrol car was t-boned by a drunk driver who ran a stop sign. The crash happened early Sunday morning at the intersection of Midland Drive and Annetta Drive. The crash pushed Ramon’s vehicle off the road and into a house, and even caused it to catch on fire. Thankfully, the fire department arrived in time to use the jaws of life to remove Ramon before the flames grew too large. The driver of the second vehicle was identified as Jose Garcia, 31.
Drunk drivers are still a major cause of crashes in Texas. Statistics show that accidents involving alcohol cause more property damage as well as more serious injuries and more fatalities. While the criminal justice system will punish Garcia for his criminal acts, Officer Ramon’s only course for recovering for his pain and suffering is a civil claim against Garcia. The civil justice system is designed to make those who are responsible for these damages compensate those who they harm. In civil cases involving drunk driving, in addition to recovering for his pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages, Officer Ramon might also be able to recover what is referred to as punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded when a jury unanimously agrees that the defendant was grossly negligent—or acted with a disregard for the safety of others while engaged in dangerous conduct. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to the damages listed earlier—compensatory damages. Instead of compensating the plaintiff, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for especially egregious conduct.
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