When you are hurt due to another person’s carelessness, mistakes, or misconduct, you may feel the need to seek retribution against that person. The person could be subject to criminal prosecution and penalties if the accident or incident involves the commission of a crime.
However, not much can be done to penalize the offender other than holding them financially responsible for the losses they caused you.
Financial losses are considered damages in personal injury cases (economic damages). They also encompass the anguish and distress that you went through as a direct result of the collision and the injuries (non-economic damages).
On the other hand, punitive damages in Texas may be awarded by the court in a very limited number of instances. For cases involving car accidents, wrongful death claims, accidents on construction sites, or accidents caused by a certain kind of behavior on the part of the individual who caused the injury, punitive damages may be an option.
What Exactly Are Punitive Damages?
Damages granted in a civil lawsuit to punish a defendant for severe wrongdoing or extreme negligence can be referred to as punitive damages or exemplary damages. Punitive damages are awarded in court even though their primary function is not to compensate the losing party. As a result, these awards greatly facilitate the plaintiff’s path to financial recovery.
How Much Can You Recover?
The recovery amount is restricted both by statutory caps on punitive damages as per the state in which your trial will take place and the Due Process Clause that mandates the award not to be excessive. A jury can impose any sum it deems appropriate within those parameters.
How Are Punitive Damages Calculated?
If a jury concludes that punitive damages should be awarded, it is up to the jury members to choose a fair and appropriate amount. While determining the number of exemplary damages to award, the jury will be given instructions that ask them to take into account any evidence that relates to the following elements when making their decision:
- The nature and degree of the misconduct
- The defendant’s degree of culpability
- The character of the misconduct involved
- The sensibilities of all parties concerned
- Whether the defendant’s actions offended the public sense of justice
- The net worth of the defendant
Filing Claims for Punitive Damages
A lawsuit that involves punitive damages might be a difficult one to navigate. It is a challenging endeavor to prove the legal aspects using evidence that is both clear and convincing. Suppose you suspect that your case may involve punitive damages. In that case, it’s recommended to speak with an experienced attorney representing clients in cases involving these issues.
When added to a claim, punitive damages can potentially raise the total value of the claim considerably.
If you are dealing with an impairment or disability that is permanent, obtaining the greatest compensation possible for your case will help you deal with future loss of income, medical treatment, and personal care. The compensation can also cater to your family’s requirements if you cannot work.
To establish fault and culpability, you need this evidence. Seek the counsel of a lawyer as soon as possible regarding the personal injury claim you intend to file. The longer you wait, the higher the probability that the evidence may vanish or be destroyed.