When you are hurt and seek damages in a personal injury lawsuit, you are entitled to receive compensatory damages. The main purpose of these damages is to return you/the injured party to the position you were in before the injury. These damages include wage losses, loss of future income, medical expenses, out of pocket expenses and pain and suffering.
Another kind of damages that can be awarded is called punitive damages, which is a financial penalty intended to punish a defendant, not to compensate the victim. Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases, but when a defendant acts outrageously or does something that is intended to hurt you, punitive damages may be awarded.
When a defendant’s behavior is so extreme that the court also decides that punitive damages are appropriate, the court also is sending a message intended to deter others from behaving similarly. This is where punitive damages come into play.
Punitive damages are awarded in personal injury cases when the defendant’s actions were outrageous, malicious or showed a complete disregard for another person’s safety. Punitive damages essentially are meant to punish the defendant. Courts have discretion whether to award these damages, and do not award them as a matter of course. As a result, you may think punitive damages are out of reach. Or you may wonder whether what happened during your accident was bad enough that you also should get punitive damages. Don’t exclude the possibility that you can recover punitive damages!
In a recent case in federal court (Middle District of Pennsylvania), the truck driver was driving at an excessive rate of speed for the driving conditions, namely a snow-covered road. The truck driver lost control of his truck and collided with the plaintiff’s vehicle causing severe injuries. The truck driver asked the court to dismiss the punitive damages claim, but the Court disagreed based on the plaintiff’s allegations.
Our office regularly fights for our clients and will seek punitive damages as needed. If you were injured by another party’s negligence, please call our office at 610-446-3457 or click here to send an email to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys. We will explain the process, guide you and fight to get the recovery you deserve.