The person who caused the car accident injuries is typically not punished. Defendants in civil actions for personal car accident injury do not receive jail time or criminal fines as punishment. Those are common criminal sentences, and personal injury cases are civil actions which do not include jail time. However, in some cases, juries and courts can award what are called “punitive damages,” which are designed to punish defendants who have behaved recklessly or intentionally against the public’s interest. The goal in ordering the payment of punitive damages is to discourage such defendants and others from engaging in the same kind of harmful behavior in the future. One of the most common situations where punitive damages may be available is when a person is injured in a car accident by a drunk driver.