Punitive Damages: 4 Facts To Learn Before You Sue
When you are injured due to the actions of another, you may be able to seek monetary damages for several different circumstances such as a loss of wages and pain and suffering. However, if the action that caused your injury was caused by gross negligence or recklessness, you may be able to sue for punitive damages as well. However, before you decide to sue for this manner of specific damage, there are a few facts you may want to know first.
1. They Are Not for Recovering Loss
While other types of awards are meant to equal what you might have lost as the result of a personal injury, such as lost wages and medical bills, punitive damages are not meant to recover these circumstances. Instead, they are designed to punish the individual or company that caused your accident due to extreme recklessness. For example, if you were shopping at a home hardware store an employee driving a forklift at an extreme rate of speed crashed into you, this may be a cause to seek punitive damages.
2. Some States Cap the Amount
The total amount of punitive damages you can sue for may depend on the state in which you live, as some cap or limit the amount. Alaska and Idaho are a few examples of states that limit punitive amounts. Some states cap damages based on the type of suit, such as medical malpractice cases. If you are unsure about your state’s limitations, your attorney may be able to assist you.
3. They Are Designed To Deter Future Negligence
While punitive damages are generally meant to punish the person who caused your injury, they are also designed to show the public that such behavior is not socially acceptable and result in serious punishment. Drunk driving, injuries that occur as the result of drug use and reckless driving can all be examples of behavior that fall under punitive damages.
4. Punitive Damages Can Be Common in Wrongful Death Suits
If you lost a loved one due to gross negligence, you may be able to seek punitive damages. This can be a common situation in such cases, where an individual’s death was directly caused by reckless behavior. For example, if individuals racing their vehicles in your neighborhood struck and killed your wife as she was crossing the street, you will likely be able to seek punitive damages due to their behavior.
When you or a loved one is injured or killed through the extreme negligence or recklessness of another, you may be able to add punitive damages to your lawsuit. Call a lawyer today or go online to schedule an initial consultation.