Understanding Punitive Damages

If you have been injured in an accident which was not your fault but caused by someone else’s negligence, Texas law grants you the right to seek adequate and fair financial compensation to cover all your medical expenses which were incurred as a result of the accident (including any future hospital bills, physical therapy treatment costs, etc.), any lost income you might have experienced due to your inability to work, and also compensation for the very real pain, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life you might have suffered. It is always a good idea to consult with a board certified DFW personal injury lawyer regarding your case in order to make sure that you fully understand your legal options and to gain an honest assessment of what your case is worth.

Unfortunately, due to liable insurance limits, it might not always be possible to recover enough money to cover all of your accident related expenses. This is often the case in extremely severe car wreck cases where the negligent driver at fault only carried the state minimum liability coverage of $30,000. In these situations, it is vital that you have an experienced Fort Worth injury attorney on your side as they can help you identify additional avenues of compensation. If you have underinsured motorist coverage, then you can make an additional claim against your own insurance to make up the difference. Or if your crash was caused by a drunk driver, your lawyer may also be able to bring a dram shop claim against the restaurant or bar which negligently served them alcohol.


Punitive Damages

Also sometimes referred to as exemplary damages, punitive damages is a form of additional compensation above and beyond the full and fair amount of money needed to adequately compensate you for the financial and intangible expenses you have incurred as a result of your injuries. Punitive damages are instead intended to punish the wrongdoer in order to send a clear message to deter similar acts of negligence occurring in the future. Punitive damages are therefore uncommon in most auto accident cases, although they may arise in situations where a trucking company’s negligence was so extreme that the court might decide it is necessary. Punitive damages are more common in claims against big companies, such as pharmaceutical manufacturers or in drunk-driving cases where the defendant’s conduct was obviously extremely egregious.
In order to establish a cause for punitive damages if your case goes to trial, your lawyer will ask the jury whether or not the conduct of the at-fault person (e.g. an intoxicated driver) was guilty of gross negligence. Remember that punitive damages are not designed with the intention of financially benefiting the injury victim, but rather to punish the negligent party (or their insurance company).
Call the Anderson Law Firm today to speak with an experienced lawyer who will be able to discuss your case in detail with you. Call toll free at 800-354-6275 or locally at 817-294-1900.
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