Personal injury claims allow the victims of negligence to recover compensation for the damages their injuries have caused. Generally, a personal injury settlement or lawsuit award will primarily account for the payment of medical bills and wages lost while the victim was unable to work. Compensation for additional expenses, such as travel costs, in-home care, or home modifications meant to accommodate an injured person may also be included in a settlement or award. In cases of wrongful death, compensation for funeral costs can be provided to the victim’s family. Many claims also result in compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, it’s possible that you may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are not as common as the other types of damages listed above, but they can be included in a settlement or award. Rather than compensating victims for the expenses or suffering an accident has caused, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the parties at fault.
Cases That May Warrant the Payment of Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are rarely given, because they are reserved for cases of significant negligence or wrongdoing. While all cases of negligence are wrong, actively punishing a person or an organization for behaving negligently only occurs in severe instances.
Punitive damages may be awarded in cases involving:
- Disregard for worker safety by an employer, constituting hazardous working conditions
- Criminal acts, such as driving under the influence or violence
- Intentional malice
Am I Entitled to Punitive Damages?
It is difficult to determine if a personal injury claimant is entitled to the payment of punitive damages without examining the unique details of their specific case. You may be able to recover punitive damages through a personal injury lawsuit if your case resembles any of the situations described above; however, it is important to remember that no two cases are exactly alike, and that the payment of punitive damages is extremely rare. Even without punitive damages, a personal injury claim can provide the compensation that you and your family need to recover from the effects of others’ negligence.
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