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Jacksonville, FL – Car Crash with Injuries in NB Lanes of I-95

How Gross Negligence Can Lead to Punitive Damages

In the blink of an eye, a car accident could turn your life upside-down when a driver disregards the rules of the road. Sometimes outright gross negligence is at play and leads to serious injuries, which is negligence that disregards the safety of others. It is more severe than the most common types of negligence. A good example of this would be a driver choosing to get behind the wheel of their car after a night of drinking, knowing that they are risking the lives of others.

When somebody has engaged in grossly negligent acts and you have been injured as a result, you may find that you are eligible for a wide array of damages. Punitive damages are not prevalent in every claim, but they are widely seen in those where gross negligence has been proven. What are punitive damages and how will you know if you are eligible for them?

Understanding How Punitive Damages Work

Damages are awarded to help injured victims get back on their feet after an accident that is not their fault. Some of the types of damages that are most common in car accidents include pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and more. However, in grossly negligent cases, you might also be able to compensate for ‘punitive damages.’ What are these damages and how do they work?

How Gross Negligence Can Lead to Punitive DamagesPunitive damages are not like regular damages and they are not awarded in every type of injury case. These types of damages are meant to punish the defendant and are not meant to solely compensate a plaintiff for a specific loss. To be successful in a claim for punitive damages, you must be able to show that the defendant acted intentionally negligent and with outright recklessness to others. Gross negligence is not like regular negligence, which is why it is important to understand what it stands for:

Gross Negligence: This is a unique type of negligence that constitutes a disregard for the safety of others. When a person is going out drinking, they can make plans for a designated driver or take an Uber or taxi. If they get behind the wheel of the car and cause a wrongful death due to their driving, they have acted with gross negligence. The defendant made a conscious decision to get behind the wheel even though they were intoxicated.

To be successful in receiving punitive damages, you as the plaintiff (or the victim’s family) will have to show that the actions leading to the accident were intentional. Not only will you be compensated for a variety of other damages as well, but you may also find that punitive damages apply to your case if the accident was intentional or the party acted with gross negligence through their actions.

How a Florida Accident Attorney Can Help 

You have been injured in a serious car accident and now you believe you might be eligible for a wide array of damages, including punitive damages. In Florida, these types of damages are not permitted to exceed $500,000 due to damage caps. It is important to understand the many laws that come into play with these types of damages, which is why you should have a resourceful car accident attorney on your side. Our personal injury attorneys at Sheftall & Associates are dedicated to helping you achieve the best results in your claim as you navigate the legal system. Please contact an accident attorney in Florida at (904) 575-9026 to find out how we can assist you in your time of need.