Punitive Damages In Personal Injury Cases
Getting injured in an accident due to the negligence of another party can result in significant expenses that you would not have otherwise acquired. Many injuries result in expensive medical bills, loss of income, loss of earning capacity and sometimes property repair or replacement. These are all expenses that you are entitled to when you win your personal injury lawsuit.
However, what if the party responsible caused the accident out of malice or with extremely reckless behavior? In these types of cases, you may also be allowed to ask the court to give you punitive damages as part of your lawsuit.
Different Types of Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits
There are different categories of damages that you may be entitled to in a personal injury case. Some of these damages may overlap. For instance, some types of compensatory damages also be categorized as economic damages. In most cases, the categories are divided accordingly:
- Economic Damages: Economic damages are any type of monetary damages that can be actualized with a receipt, bill, or any other sort of documentation. Examples include: medical bills, lost wages, costs for repairing or replacing damaged property, and out of pocket expenses arising out of the accident.
- Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages refer to compensation for losses that have negatively impact your life as a result of the accident, but cannot be assigned a specific monetary value. Examples include: pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are awarded by the court as a way to punish the individual or entity that is responsible for causing your injury. The court only awards punitive damages if the defendant’s behavior is found to have been exceptionally malicious or reckless.
More Information About Punitive Damages
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for his or her behavior. This type of damage is not awarded as a direct link to the injuries suffered by the accident victim. In other words, punitive damages are not meant to compensate you for your loss, but rather set an example for the reckless or grossly negligent behavior of the defendant that caused the accident.
You or your Los Angeles accident attorney will need to have a reasonable basis in order to seek punitive damages. If you cannot provide sufficient evidence to support your allegations that the defendant acted with intentional misconduct or gross negligence, the you or your attorney can have sanctions brought against you by the court. The reasons for this is to prevent frivolous lawsuits.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by another party, you may be entitled to compensation. To ensure you get the full money damages you deserve, you need to consult with and hire a Los Angeles accident attorney.