Car accident cases commonly involve economic and non-economic damages to compensate the victim for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some cases, however, juries may award additional compensation in the form of punitive damages. Punitive damages for car accidents are a way of punishing the defendant and deterring future bad behavior, and they come into play if a defendant’s actions were especially outrageous or dangerous.
If you were injured in a car accident, speak with a dedicated personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney could pursue compensation for your injuries and fight for the justice you deserve. The legal team at Kogan & DiSalvo has years of experience handling car accident cases like yours, and they could put their skills to work on your behalf.
How are Punitive Damages Calculated?
Punitive damages for car accidents are damages that are awarded to punish the at-fault driver. Calculating these damages involves a different set of criteria than calculating economic or non-economic damages, and the amount of the award is calculated on a case-by-case basis.
One of the issues considered is the net worth of the defendant. Punitive damages are not covered by insurance, so they would need to be paid by the defendant personally. Because different defendants have different financial means, the amount of money a jury feels will adequately punish them can vary from case to case. For example, if the defendant is an individual, punitive damages of $100,000 could bankrupt them, and a jury may find this punishment excessive. If the defendant is a large automobile manufacturer, however, $100,000 may be insignificant.
Circumstances Leading to Punitive Damages
Driving while impaired or distracted driving could lead to punitive damages. Punitive damages are only used when someone’s actions are especially egregious that the court feels they need to be punished. For example, if a person knew their brakes did not work but chose to drive anyway, punishment may be appropriate.
How an Attorney Handles a Punitive Damages Case
Whether or not there is a basis for punitive damages depends on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. If there is a basis for punitive damages, the lawyer needs to do additional work to bring those claims to the court. This involves a motion to amend the complaint to add a punitive damage claim. After this step, the defendant can find out or discover through the litigation process what assets the defendant has and how much are they making each year.
When it comes time to argue the motion for punitive damages, the defendant’s financial information is made available to the jury. They use that information to punish the defendant if they so choose. The defendant’s financial resources play an important role in the case, so making this information available to a jury is essential.
Discussing Punitive Damages Claim with a Boca Raton Attorney
Depending on the facts and circumstances of a case, punitive damages for car accidents may be available. If you were injured in a car accident, you should get in touch with the distinguished Boca Raton car accident attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo and schedule a free case review. Our lawyers have the knowledge and experience needed to fight for the compensation you deserve.