Are You Able to Get Punitive Damages in A Personal Injury Case?
Sept. 19, 2018
There are many times when a person in Jackson, Kentucky, gets hurt in an accident and thinks, at least to themselves, that the other person who caused the accident was being more than just careless. For example, someone who gets hurt in a drunk or drugged driving accident may be particularly angry at the drunk driver, since it is so obvious that driving under the influence is dangerous, yet the other person involved insisted on doing it anyway. Other examples might fall into this category as well.
In these sorts of cases, someone who is pursuing a personal injury claim for compensation may also ask the judge or jury to award punitive damages. As the name implies, these damages are unlike others in that they are not necessarily supposed to cover a person's losses, but simply to impose what can be thought of as a "fine" on the other person or business, just to reinforce that their behavior is unacceptable.
Punitive damages are not available in all cases, and other limits may apply, so a person interested in pursuing them should speak to their attorney about doing so. However, in general, someone who wants to pursue punitive damages needs to prove they are entitled to those damages by clear and convincing evidence. In other words, while it may not rise to the level of proof required in a criminal case, getting a punitive damages award requires more proof than what is typical involved in a personal injury case.
Moreover, the person seeking the damages needs to prove that the person at fault acted in a way that can rightly be called as more than careless. While there are precise definitions describing this sort of behavior, the basic idea is that a person was dishonest, cruel or indifferent to others in such a way that the injury they caused can rightly be called more than an accident.