There are two types of damages that you may be awarded after a car accident: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are exactly what they sound like: compensation for losses incurred in an accident, like medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income from missed work, and more. The majority of these damages have an exact dollar amount, so it’s pretty easy to figure them out. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are not very commonly awarded in car accident cases. Punitive damages are a tool available to injury judges to punish defendants who exhibit gross misconduct.
All car accident cases will include compensatory damages, but only a rare few will even qualify for punitive damages, let alone actually be awarded them.
Do I Qualify for Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are different from compensatory damages in that they are not intended to compensate the victim for their losses, but to penalize the defendant for their intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
You could qualify for punitive damages if your case includes:
- Gross negligence by either driver or manufacturer: If you are injured by a driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your accident, the law generally considers this to be gross negligence, which could make you eligible to receive punitive damages. Likewise, if you can demonstrate that an auto manufacturer or repair shop used a defective or low-quality part on your car, causing your accident, you could be awarded punitive damages.
- Malicious actions: If another driver lashes out in a violent case of road rage and forces you to crash into a tree, resulting in serious injuries, they could be required to pay punitive damages for your injuries.
Seeking Punitive Damages
Obtaining punitive damages can be an extraordinarily difficult task, requiring the abilities of an experienced Louisville car accident lawyer. It is strongly advised that you discuss your case with an attorney to find out what you do and do not qualify for, as well as get sound legal advice for the best way to pursue them.
When you need assistance after a car accident, trust your case to Bahe Cook Cantley & Nefzger, PLC. We are one of Kentucky’s leading personal injury law firms, and we are prepared to stand by your side and fight to help you obtain the justice you deserve. We have earned numerous recognitions for our aptitude both in and out of the courtroom, including being named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers.For a free consultation after your car accident, call Bahe Cook Cantley & Nefzger, PLC today at (502) 565-0035.