Malicious conduct has several different definitions. It's conduct that is worse than simple neglignece. Malice can be defined as " a conscious disregard for the rights and safety of other persons that has a great probability of causing substantial harm .
Driving drunk is conduct where punitive damages can be awarded. These damages are to punish the defendant. This is distinguished from compensatory damages which compensate the injured person for their loss.
If there is evidence of texting this could be a fertile ground to allege punitive damages. Recently an appellate court case in Ohio held that when a driver was driving a semi with known bad brakes on the trailer and did not feel qualified to operate the tractor trailer
In Ohio you can not insure for punitive damages. And normally they are not dischargeable in bakruptcy. So if they are awarded against someone with no money it may be hard to collect, but you can chase them around forever. But it's always worth it to put them in play if you can.
One reason is that the insurance company for the at fault driver has a duty to their client to resolve the compensatory claim and get the whole case resolved so their insured does not have to pay punitive damages. This can have the effect of driving the money the insurance company will pay on the compensatory damages higher.
My two convenient locations for serving nearby Cincinnati accident injury claims are:
Law Office of Anthony D. Castelli
602 Main Street Suite 707
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Google Local Business Page
8170 Corporate Park Drive Suite 220
Cincinnati, Ohio 45242