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What Are Punitive Damages in a Car Accident Claim?

There are many types of damages that individuals are compensated for after a car accident caused by another party such as lost wages, medical bills, and more. However, there is another special type of damages that applies to some cases known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded by a court to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in these same reckless acts. They are given in cases where a defendant acts with outright and extreme negligence. By understanding punitive damages, you can make a determination in your case and find out if you qualify for these damages.

When Do Punitive Damages Apply to My Case?  

One of the main things that many individuals do not realize is that punitive damages do not apply to every case. Let’s say that a defendant acted intentionally and it led to harm. For instance, what happens if a driver chooses to drive on our roads after they have consumed alcohol? After making this decision, they crash into a family of four and all four are seriously injured. This is considered outright reckless behavior and would most likely be eligible for punitive damages.

Punitive damages are never awarded alone but are instead combined with compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are more likely to be proven, which means that they might be more easily obtained depending on the circumstances. If you are able to show the recklessness of another party, you are most likely to compensate for punitive damages.

How Your Punitive Damages Will Be Calculated 

Many people think that they will receive large and even unreasonable amounts for their punitive damages. They might be under this impression because they’ve seen it on television or watched actual cases where large awards are given. However, this should not be expected in every case. In fact, some states cap the number of punitive damages that will be given to an individual. This means that many amounts are not permitted to go over a number like $500,000. In many states, punitive damages will not be given in any capacity unless a certain amount of compensatory damages are also awarded.

Does My Claim Warrant Punitive Damages?

As mentioned, not every case will call for punitive damages. For instance, if a driver went through a stop sign and slammed into your vehicle, leaving you with a concussion, you might not see punitive damages due to this everyday road mistake. However, when a driver is recklessly weaving in and out of traffic at speeds of 90 mph and strikes a vehicle, killing a driver, punitive damages will likely be awarded when certain aspects are shown.

The only way that you will know if your claim is eligible for punitive damages is if you speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney immediately following your accident. At Sheftall & Associates, our skilled and dedicated accident attorneys continue to stand by the sides of victims who have been harmed due to reckless behavior. Please contact our Florida law firm at 904-647-2296 for the help you deserve.