What Are Punitive Damages In A Car Accident?
In the state of Georgia, punitive damages, or exemplary damages, are damages awarded by a court to punish an offender for his or her bad behavior. For instance, the court may order an individual who drove drunk to pay punitive damages to teach him a lesson in the hopes that he learns from it and does not drive drunk again in the future.
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You can ask for punitive damages if the other driver was doing something so reckless and/or negligent that s/he caused an otherwise preventable accident. S/he may have been speeding, took a sharp corner too fast, or engaged in distracted driving. In all of these situations, if the driver had exercised more caution, the accident might not have occurred.
Here at Prieto, Marigliano, Holbert & Prieto, LLC, we has a long history of getting our clients punitive damages in a variety of no-fault cases. Call us today to speak with a an expert car accident lawyer. We can help you determine whether a court would award punitive damages in your case, as well as the amount we would expect them to award.
Punitive Damages In Georgia
Georgia law, when referencing damages, states that punitive damages are available when you can prove that the person you are suing engaged in:
- Willful misconduct, or a reckless disregard for other drivers on the road
- Wantonness (Dishonesty)
You can also sue for damages if you can prove the other person knew there could be consequences for his or her actions, but the person went ahead and engaged in the behavior anyway. This is especially true in cases involving driving under the influence. If the driver knew s/he had too much to drink, then s/he should have turned over the keys to a friend or called a cab – not gotten behind the wheel.
Punitive Damage Amounts
Insofar as cases involving car accidents in the state of Georgia, there are no limits to the amount of damages that a court can award. And, as it is, the other driver’s insurance company may be the one responsible for paying out on your claim. Your responsibility is to show the court that even if you are requesting a high damages award, you have the proof to back up that number.
This where a personal injury lawyer can be an invaluable resource. If you are unsure of how much to ask for in your damages claim, Prieto, Marigliano, Holbert & Prieto, LLC can help. After all, you only get to file your claim once, so it is important that you do it right the first time.
Once the other driver has been convicted in a criminal case of, say, driving under the influence, you can then sue him or her in civil court for additional damages. In civil court, you can file a lawsuit for any of the following types of compensation:
- Medical treatment
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
In some cases, the plaintiff does not even file for punitive damages. Instead, the jury awards punitive damages based on the facts of the case and how at-fault the defendant truly is.
One thing people tend to forget when creating their civil claim is that medical treatment is not always a one-time expense. In some cases, especially if you are involved in a truck accident, you may need long-term care that requires missing massive amounts of work. In this case, you need to consider being compensated both for that medical care (including prescriptions and possible surgeries), along with lost wages and those who are affected by your reduction in income.
Hire A Law Firm You Can Trust
Here at Prieto, Marigliano, Holbert & Prieto, LLC, we have the resources and experience necessary to know what damages to fight for and when. We know when to ask for punitive damages, and we know what damages you may be entitled to that you left out of your initial claim – either because you thought you were not entitled to them, or because you are not as experienced as we are in this area.
Fill out the form to the right, or call us at (855) 329-7144, and be connected with a member of our knowledgeable team. Let us review your claim so that we can best advise you of the next steps you should take. Best of all, we offer a free consultation with no obligation to retain.
When you call, you will receive expert legal advice that may increase the award the court believes you are entitled to! So what are you waiting for? Contact us today!