The reimbursement paid to a victim of an accident is referred to as damages. Damages are calculated according to the injuries suffered and the specific facts of each case. Actual damages are made up of things like the cost of medicine, the amount of wages lost due to the accident, and the costs of medical care. Actual damages are easily measured because there is documentation to support the amount requested. There are also damages awarded for things that cannot be measured with physical evidence, such as pain and suffering. These types of damages, along with actual damages typically make up the damages sought by a victim of an accident.
A third type of damages available in some cases is punitive damages. In order to obtain an award of punitive damages the plaintiff must prove a higher standard than negligence, and here is how that may look in different types of personal injury cases:
- Car accidents: most car crashes truly are an accident, but in some instances there is something more serious at play which can lead to an award of punitive damages. A good example is a DUI with injury.
- Medical malpractice: most doctors and healthcare professionals are not in business to cause harm to a patient, but when actual intent to do wrong is shown an award of punitive damages can be appropriate.
Punitive damages are meant to “punish” the responsible party and deter future bad acts. In personal injury cases the hope is also to send a message to the general public that the type of behavior that lead to the accident is not acceptable. For private citizens this can mean trying to prevent texting and driving, or purposeful assault of another. Corporations can also face the potential of punitive damages, and this is seen in cases where hazardous substances are known to be on site but a company intentionally fails to remove the hazard, causing harm to workers or other visitors. Whatever type of personal injury case you have, we can help you recover all you deserve.
If you or a loved one have been in an accident where punitive damages are appropriate, call the attorneys at Yetnikoff Law Offices, PLLC for help. Call us at 800-279-6331 or visit us online for more information about how we can help you today.