What are punitive damages in a personal injury case?
Lots of people suffer personal injury everyday slipping at the grocery store, getting attacked by an animal, crashing into another vehicle, or through a myriad of ways.
Personal injury cases are meant to compensate the plaintiff for the personal injury and expense of the event. A personal injury lawsuit generally allows the plaintiff to seek compensatory damages and punitive damages.
If you file a lawsuit for personal injury and negligence, like after a car accident, then you may have damages awarded for your compensatory damages (economic damages and non economic damages). These are meant to reimburse you for your pain and suffering, medical bills, medical expenses, lost wages, loss of consortium, emotional distress, and other tangible and intangible damages
The court may also give a punitive damages award to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are awarded typically in a personal injury lawsuit for gross negligence, extreme recklessness, and other outrageous conduct. The amount of punitive damages normally relates to seriousness of the offense.
The following sections review punitive damages in personal injury cases. Contact the attorneys from our law firm, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to speak more on this law, to tell us about your case, and get legal advice about personal injury claims from personal injury attorneys that really care!
When Are Compensatory Damages and Punitive Damages Awarded in Court?
The legal norms surrounding plaintiffs being awarded punitive damages and compensatory damages (as well as exemplary damages) is varied across the many states but there are some patterns that may guide an injured plaintiff.
Compensatory damages encompasses the harm and loss a plaintiff may experience due to the defendant’s gross negligence or grossly negligent conduct.
Within this orbit, a victim may have economic damages and these are the out-of-pocket losses from an accident including medical bills, lost wages, or property damage.
Their non-economic damages are also included within the compensatory realm and these may be pain, suffering, physical trauma, disability, disfigurement, lost life normalcy, and similar items.
Those seeking punitive damages must identify the conduct or behavior which is so reckless that a court must punish a defendant in order to deter others from doing the same thing. This is main reason why punitive damages are awarded. They are associated with such outrageous acts like intoxicated driving or distracted driving.
Call an attorney from our firm and leave your contact information (or use our chat window) to get legal advice and to form an attorney client relationship if you were injured or experienced harm in an accident. Our team can determine what damages punitive may be awarded to you or your family.
How Much Are Punitive Damages Worth?
The real question most families and injured people have is how much punitive damages can I get? Remember, these are normally only awarded by courts in extreme instances of gross negligence or grossly negligent conduct and behavior to deter others from doing the same thing.
With that being said, our legal team normally estimates that a plaintiff may obtain punitive damages by as much as two to three times the amount of their economic damages and non economic damages combined.
Of course, more or less may be awarded depending upon what actually happened and what the defendant did but this is the example we normally use to instruct people we advise in an attorney client relationship.
If you would like to know what punitive damages award you may under the law, then contact us and leave your contact information, the nature of the harm and accident, and we can set you up with an attorney today. The defendant should not get off easy. You should obtain all help and damages available and we can help.
How Can A Lawyer Help in a Personal Injury Case?
If you have suffered harm due to grossly negligent behavior or gross negligence, then an attorney may be able to help you retrieve punitive damages from the responsible defendant.
A competent lawyer from an experienced law firm can take steps to maximize your recovery, including punitive damages, like these for example:
- Investigates how the accident occurred immediately after it transpired.
- Conduct all communications with the defendants.
- Present the total picture of your harm and damage in court.
- Negotiate a higher punitive settlement award in talks with opposing counsel.
Extreme negligence and reckless behavior should not go unaccounted for and our legal team can help you obtain an award that matches your damage. Call us today to find out how.
Personal Injury Cases involving Punitive Damages
To give you a sense of the compensation and types of punitive damages available in court, you can take a look at an example of injured plaintiff recovery below:
$1,420,000 Drunk Driving Wrongful Death and Punitive Damages Lawsuit:
Here, a man was drunk driving and crossed the median and then slammed into another passenger vehicle head-on. The drunk driver was driving drunk and was borrowing his parents’ car at the time of the accident. His blood alcohol level was way beyond drunk. Plus, two people in the car he hit died.
They were both just in their middle twenties sadly. Family members of the people the drunk driver killed brought a wrongful death claim and then wrongful death lawsuit with the aid of personal injury attorneys.
They sought compensation within the statute of limitations for the death, personal injury, pain and suffering, and medical bills that the impaired driving caused them and their loved one.
Note, the man also faced criminal charges and jail time in a related case. The defendants families settled with the plaintiffs for $1.42 million to end the drunk driving wrongful death claim. Punitive damages may be available to you and every plaintiff through court award. Talk to experienced attorneys today to understand more.
$1,089,650 Verdict; Negligence and Punitive Damages Case; 2018:
This incident occurred at a local bar in the Chicago suburbs. Two groups of people were partying at the nightclub when a fight broke out in the parking lot. Someone reached out and sucker-punched a member of the other party. The victim was in his middle thirties.
The blow landed on his temple and sent him to the ground. The personal injury accident was so severe that he had to be rushed to the emergency room. He spent almost two weeks there but passed away. This wrongful death claim was brought by his family against the assailant and property owners (on premises liability theory).
They argued that negligent security was responsible and could have prevented the situation from escalating. They also argued that the actual perpetrator intentionally attempted to kill the decedent.
Both defendants refused these allegations. The building owner replied that negligent security was not the culprit. Instead, it pointed to the man that attacked.
In the end, the jury cut it down the middle but the company settled with the plaintiffs for $100,000 before that. The jury ruled against the assailant for a little over $1 million. That sum was meant to compensate the family for all types of damages like for example: medical expenses, lost society, grief, and sorrow including punitive damages.
$1,812,000 Car Accident Settlement:
This fatal motor vehicle accident was brought in Cook County, Illinois but the events which gave rise to it occurred on Lake Street in Bloomingdale. The defendant went straight through a red light and hit the plaintiff’s passenger car.
The crash left her with head wounds that she could not overcome. She was just fifty-seven. Her husband and four children survived her.
The family sued the driver and the driver defendant’s employer. They recovered nearly $2 million of financial compensation, $1,812,000 to be exact, in the subsequent settlement. This was a combined sum from all the defendants for their negligence and wrongful death claims as well as punitive damages.
Talk to our Personal Injury Attorneys to see if Punitive Damages Might be Available
The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC law firm have helped many injured people after the defendant’s gross negligence and reckless behavior harmed them. Contact an attorney skilled in personal injury case law to see if there may be compensatory and punitive damages awarded to the plaintiff.
The accident may have seriously altered your life. Thankfully, there are different types of damages that may be awarded but the amount of compensatory damages or punitive damages you get depends on the facts of your accident. Call our law firm to see what you may obtain and how to best do so.