The number of accident-related injuries is increasing every year, and so is the number of personal injury claims being filed. If you get injured in an accident, you should make a compensation claim with the help of a lawyer to make up for your medical costs and lost wages.

There are different categories of damages awarded through a personal injury claim.

While compensatory damages are for your benefit, punitive damages are to stop the guilty party from acting irresponsibly in the future. People usually only talk about compensatory damages since punitive damages do not always apply.

When dealing with personal injury claims, hiring an experienced accident lawyer is important. Unlike insurance companies, which prioritize minimizing their payouts, a lawyer’s primary goal is to ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible. Qualified personal injury attorneys are skilled in navigating the complexities of personal injury law, gathering evidence, and negotiating settlements that truly reflect the extent of your damages. Additionally, lawyers can provide invaluable guidance and representation in court if necessary, offering a level of advocacy that insurance companies typically do not provide. By choosing a lawyer over solely relying on an insurance company, you are more likely to secure a fair and just settlement for your injuries.

Let us take a look today at punitive damages and how and when they apply in personal injury cases.

What are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages, often known as exemplary damages, are additional compensation that can be obtained from the defendant in order to punish them for extreme carelessness and prevent others from committing the same act in the future.

Punitive damages do not apply in all cases. You can decide whether to seek punitive damages in your case after you discuss it with a personal injury attorney.

When are Punitive Damages Applicable?

Punitive damages are granted to punish the defendant and to discourage them from acting in a similar manner again. Punitive damages are usually awarded with these goals in mind:

  • Punishment: Jail time is not an option for defendants in civil suits, but they can still be penalized with punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.
  • Specific deterrence: Punitive damages are granted with the intention of specifically discouraging the offender from committing the same offense in the future.
  • General deterrence: Punitive damages are also intended to discourage other people or organizations from committing the same offenses for which the offender was found guilty.

In tort proceedings, such as personal injury cases, plaintiffs may ask for punitive damages in the majority of states. The precise conditions for punitive damages vary throughout states, but generally speaking, plaintiffs must demonstrate that the defendant acted maliciously and in an egregiously careless or dangerous manner.

The Factors That Influence Punitive Damages

As previously stated, only extreme behavior on the part of the defendant should warrant the imposition of punitive damages. Some of the elements that may determine whether or not punitive damages are awarded include the following:

  • A malicious intent: the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was acting with malicious intent and specifically wanted to cause harm to the plaintiff. If this can be proven, you will receive punitive damages in a personal injury case.
  • Gross negligence: Punitive damages may be awarded to a defendant who engages in behavior that is considered willful misconduct, which is defined as actions of extreme negligence or recklessness.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer to Claim Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are related to the defendant’s recklessness or malicious thoughts rather than the plaintiff’s harm or loss. This means that you have to prove their intent and give extra details of the accident to the jury.

Without legal knowledge, that can be hard to do. You can contact a personal injury lawyer if you think you deserve punitive damages. Experienced personal injury lawyers know how to deal with these cases and will help you receive compensation.