After an accident or injury, you may be eligible for punitive damages in a personal injury lawsuit if the respondent’s conduct was egregious. Despite the fact that civil penalties are seldom issued in personal injury claims, they could be warranted in certain circumstances. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering punitive damages after a California car accident.
Punitive Damages Defined
In the vast majority of circumstances, a personal injury petitioner is entitled to receive reparations. These are financial remedies that reimburse a claimant for health care expenses, loss of earnings, reduced projected earnings, and even mental anguish. Given the circumstances, compensation might cover a wide range of expenditures.
Punitive damages or civil penalties are meant to punish the negligent party and discourage other people from also engaging in the same behavior. A court may order the offender to pay civil fines to the plaintiff as a punitive action to avoid a recurrent incident.
Proving That Civil Penalties Are Warranted
For civil fines to be assessed, the plaintiff must show “clear and convincing proof” that the defendant owes not only compensatory reparations, but also punitive damages for their act(s) of gross negligence. This is a higher standard than the proof required for negligence, which is simply by a “preponderance of the evidence.” How much the penalties will be is set by a jury once the request is granted.
How Much Money Will a Defendant Pay for Punitive Damages?
Generally, the penalty assessed against the defendant should be proportionate to their wealth or earnings. If the defendant can pay the fine without issue, the goal of discouraging them from acting in the same manner again is unlikely to be met. Damages awarded to the plaintiff should also be calculated based on the amount of harm done. A defendant should not have to pay the same civil penalties for a minor injury as they would if they had caused someone to lose a limb or even their life.
Get Legal Help From a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Today
Don’t hesitate after you or someone you love were critically injured in an accident through no fault of your own. The Lewin Law Group can help you recover compensatory and punitive damages if possible. Call now for your consultation at 888.603.0201. Serving Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Anaheim, Santa Ana, and other cities in the LA metropolitan area.