If your injuries resulted from an accident caused by drunk driving, You might be eligible for additional compensation, known as punitive damages. This type of compensation is meant to punish drivers for outrageous conduct. Read Greathouse Trial Law’s Blog to learn more.
What are Punitive Damages?
The law defines punitive damages as damages that exceed simple compensation. Suppose the at-fault driver was under the influence or otherwise engaging in harmful behavior. In that case, the court may punish them by increasing the amount of payment they owe you.
Essentially, they are not only responsible for paying the damages they owe you for the accident but an additional amount that the court deems appropriate. Punitive damages go beyond the compensatory amount and are specifically designed to punish the at-fault party.
Punitive damages may be awarded to you if the at-fault party displayed gross negligence or if their actions were intentional. They can also be used as a deterrent to prevent the driver from committing the same offense or stop others from making the same mistake.
When do Punitive Damages Apply?
Punitive damages apply when the at-fault party causes you great harm due to their actions. The at-fault driver went beyond just negligence in their actions to the point that a jury decided that financial punishment was necessary.
Situations that may call for punitive damages can include:
- Drunk driving accidents
- Hit and run accidents
- Trucking accidents
Additionally, punitive damages may be applied when the at-fault party shows disregard for the law, such as super-speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They may also use these damages when there is explicit dangerous conduct.
How Much Compensation can Punitive Damages Give?
Georgia law states that the maximum amount you can be awarded for punitive damages is $250,000. However, three exceptions to the law may require more compensation than the cap allows.
The cap does not apply to product liability claims, driving under the influence, or if the at-fault party acts with the specific intent to cause harm. If you were in an accident caused by drunk driving or malicious intent, you could potentially receive more than the $250,000 cap.
How do I Claim Punitive Damages?
It is impossible to claim a certain amount of punitive damages in Georgia, as juries typically decide whether to award them and the number of damages you are owed. However, there are specific steps you can take to become eligible for punitive damages.
If you claim punitive damages, you must have a specific allegation that would support your case. You must also include this claim before you file the lawsuit since you will not be able to add it once the trial starts.
There are also additional steps that go into deciding punitive damages. You and your attorney must have clear proof, a history or potential future of causing harm, and any further evidence.
Speak to an Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the car accident attorneys at Greathouse Trial Law are here to help. We want to partner with you on your claim and negotiate with your insurance company to get a settlement to meet your needs.
Contact us today at (678) 310-2827 or complete our online form for your free case evaluation. Our personal injury law firm aims to serve the great people of Atlanta and to give a voice to the voiceless.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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Atlanta, GA 30303
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