The court uses punitive damages to punish the defendant for their actions. Such damages are extremely difficult to recover and as a result, courts rarely award them in personal injury cases. If a defendant is found liable for punitive damages, their actions were considered grossly negligent and the court has decided they need to be punished.
What Type of Damages Are Awarded in a Personal Injury Case?
There are two types of damages awarded in a personal injury case: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are awarded to the plaintiff to make them whole. They usually help a plaintiff recover from financial loss, such as loss of work or unpaid medical bills, or from losing some part of enjoyment in their life. There are certain cases where the court might deem compensatory damages to be inefficient by itself to assist the defendant in recovering from the injury. In those cases, the court will also award punitive damages.
What Are Punitive Damages?
In personal injury cases, the defendant can sometimes be punished beyond being found liable for the actual injury to the plaintiff. If the defendant’s actions are considered egregious or unreasonably harmful to the plaintiff, the court has the ability to award punitive damages. These are additional damages that can be awarded to the plaintiff in order to punish the defendant for their behavior.
An example of a situation where such damages will be awarded is if a company has been warned about a potential safety issue and does not correct the issue. As a result of their not correcting the issue, the plaintiff becomes injured. That plaintiff will now have a reason to sue for punitive damages, as well as the normal damages awarded in a personal injury case.
Attorney Loren Scott Etengoff is an experienced attorney who understands all types of personal injury damages and how to get them awarded to his clients. Contact the law offices of Scott Etengoff today for a free case evaluation.
When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?
Punitive damages are not available to every citizen of the United States. While most states in America allow them, the state of Washington does not. In Washington, the only damages considered are economic and non-economic damages. For plaintiffs living in the states that do award this type of damages, they will have to prove that the conduct of the defendant was egregious or grossly negligent as to cause the injury.
In other cases, the conduct of the defendant might even rise above negligence and be intentionally harmful. In situations like that, punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant and to serve as a warning to potential defendants who might engage in similar behavior. Due to the difficulty of having such damages awarded to the plaintiff, it is crucial that you hire an experienced attorney who can spot the issues that might allow your case to be one where punitive damages are awarded. Attorney Loren Scott Etengoff has that requisite experience and understands the cases that might have potential to have punitive damages awarded to the plaintiff.
What Cases Are Likely to Have Punitive Damages Awarded?
- DUI Cases: In cases where the defendant causes an accident due to being under the influence of alcohol or other illegal substances, there is a strong chance that the defendant will be liable for punitive damages. Such damages will be rewarded in these matters due to the severe danger that driving under the influence plays in causing a harmful accident.
- Gross Negligence: Another example where punitive damages will be awarded is a situation where gross negligence obviously played a part. An example would be a homeowner who is informed repeatedly to correct a fire hazard. As a result of the homeowner’s refusal to correct the fire hazard, some one is injured seriously. The homeowner will be most likely be liable for actual and punitive damages as a result.
- Extreme Medical Malpractice: If a doctor makes a serious mistake that should have been easily avoided, there is a chance that punitive damages will be awarded against that doctor.
- Personal Injury Cases: If a person is injured in a personal injury case, which can be anything from a car accident to a bar fight and everything else in between, punitive damages have a chance at being awarded.
Punitive damages can be overlooked without the assistance of an experienced attorney who knows to seek them when filing suit. Attorney Loren Scott Etengoff has handled numerous cases where punitive damages have been awarded and can assist you in determining what type of case you have. Contact the Law Offices of Loren Scott Etengoff today and request a free case evaluation.