The law of New Mexico and the laws of most states permit you to get punitive damages on top of all your other damages when you are involved in an auto accident with a drunk driver which causes you injuries. The punitive damages are to punish the drunk driver for violating New Mexico and other states law. It is illegal to drink and drive, and those that do are punished criminally with jail time and civilly with punitive damages. Typically the amount of punitive damages you can get for a drunk driver accident depends on such facts as the blood alcohol content of the drunk driver and the number of previous convictions for drunk driving. Typically, the drunk driver's insurance company will refuse to pay punitive damages. However, most will pay extra money to settle the case and keep it from going to trial. Others ask the drunk driver to throw in some money from his hown pocket to make the case go away. If the drunk driver's insurance and the drunk driver individually refuse to pay any extra money for punitive damages, you will most likely have a right to claim punitive damages from your own insurance company under its underinsured motorist policy. While this may sound strange at first, your own insurance company will pay for claims that are underinsured with the drunk driver's insurance. Payment of underinsured motorist coverage from your own insurance company may depend on the amount of money you are offered from the drunk driver's insurance and the amount of uninsured motorist coverage you have. As we approach Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years please drive safely. Never Drink and Drive no matter how much alcohol you have consumed. Caruso Law Offices is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico and exclusively handles personal injury claims including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accident, bus accidents, pedestrian accidents resulting in personal injuries, brain injury, permanent injury and impairment and wrongful death. Offices are located in Albuquerque's North East Heights at 4302 Carlisle NE (Montgomery & Carlisle) and in Albuquerque's West Side at 2929 Coors NW Suite 310-E. Free one hour consultations with an attorney are available by calling 505-883-5000 Attorney Mark Caruso is a former insurance company attorney who now represents injured clients in their personal injury claims. He is a 1982 graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law and is a former State Representative in the New Mexico Legislature.