Compensatory Damages vs. Punitive Damages

exemplary damages

Punitive Damages Law Suit

Car accident claims could be in the form of compensatory damages wherein the victim is adequately compensated monetarily for the loss of property or injuries sustained. Punitive damages can be awarded alongside compensatory damages in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. It is for the attorneys and finally the court to ascertain whether a car accident case is eligible for punitive award.

What is Punitive Damages?
A simple literary translation of the word punitive would suffice to understand that there is element of punishment in the form of damages awarded against the person responsible for the accident. The actions due to negligence of the offender become punitive when such negligence happens intentionally or by any voluntary act as in the case of accidents due to drunk driving.

exemplary damages

Punitive Damages in Motorcycle Accident Cases

What should you do to claim punitive damages?
Follow these guidelines.
 Ascertain whether the driver responsible for the accident was influenced by alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.
 Once you ascertain that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, look for intent to cause accident. If there is proof that the accident was caused with malicious intent in the form of a statement from the driver to the effect, then you can establish a strong case for claiming punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages.
 Try to analyze if the driver drove the vehicle recklessly and if you find any proof to establish the same, your chances of winning the case is high. Actions that constitute recklessness include exceeding the speed limit intentionally or under the influence of alcohol, indulging in cell phone conversation or text messaging etc.
 Look for motives such as animosity between the offender and the victim to constitute a vindictive attitude resulting in willful negligence Your allegations in the claim petition should enumerate all of these in a conspicuous manner at the time of filing, leaving no chance for the defendant to contend at a later stage that he had no notice of being framed for punitive damages.
 In the order of the court, the base award will always be compensatory in nature and punitive damages are calculated in addition to the former and it is not mandatory to award punitive damages in the absence of adequate evidence.

Hope this article enabled you to know what is ‘punitive damages’ in a car accident claim and under what circumstances you can include that in a claim for compensatory damages.


How To Get Punitive Damages Without Going To Court

what is punitive damages

how to claim punitive damages

What is punitive damages from the legal point of view? They are damages that are aimed at reforming or deterring the plaintiff and others from engaging in conduct similar to that which led to the lawsuit in the first place. And what is punitive damages in effect? It punishes a person for an act they should have been able to prevent, but did not. When this refers to an accident, and the one at fault owns up to their actions, a monetary award, including the punitive damages, can be negotiated without going to court.

Getting punitive damages without suing

  • Take note of everything. When you are involved in an accident or are wronged and you had to suffer damages to your person or property, write down who, what, when, where, why and how. Also keep a record of all expenses that you had to suffer with respect to medical expenses and loss with respect to the amount of time you had to lay off work due to the accident.
  • Solicit the services of an attorney. Even though you can deal with the offender personally, it is always better to get professional help to get you through the process. If you want to make a claim without suing, the attorney can be your contact and go-to person, and this will ensure that the other parties will take you more seriously. Everybody takes an attorney seriously.

    getting  punitive damages

    how to obtain punitive damages

  • Co-operate with the other party. Their attorney or representative may wish to interview you regarding the claims you make. Let such requests go through your attorney and let him tell you if it’s advisable to meet with them.
  • Approach it realistically. You’re getting compensated for the expense from your pocket, so make sure your demand for punitive damages is reasonable and not excessive. You can have your attorney give past claim history awards for punitive damages to begin your negotiations.
  • Settle when you get the feeling that you’re being justly compensated for your trouble. You will be guided by your attorney as to when the offer settlement is good. Of course, you can either accept or reject the attorney’s advice but it would be advisable to follow such a recommendation

These are the things to keep in mind while settling for punitive damages outside court. Hope this was helpful.