Have you recently suffered a personal injury in Los Angeles? If so, you may be wondering if your Los Angeles accident attorney can help you get more than just compensatory damages. Specifically, you may wonder if your Los Angeles injury lawyer can demand that the defendant pay punitive damages.
Here, we will explore whether your Los Angeles injury lawyer can help you obtain punitive damages and what factors may come into play when seeking this type of compensation.
What are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are a type of compensation that can be awarded to punish the defendant for their wrongful actions and deter them from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
Punitive damages may be imposed by a court in order to punish a defendant for particularly egregious conduct. Ordinary compensatory damages are designed to make the plaintiff whole.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, are not intended to compensate the plaintiff. Instead, they are meant to punish the defendant and deter future misconduct.
How Can Your Los Angeles Accident Attorney Prove Punitive Damages?
To recover punitive damages, the plaintiff must typically prove that the defendant’s conduct was intentional or showed a reckless disregard for the safety of others.
This does not mean that your Los Angeles injury lawyer doesn’t still have to prove negligence. Punitive damages can be awarded in addition to compensatory damages, but they are typically much higher in amount.
How Does Negligence Factor Into Awarding Punitive Damages?
Negligence is a legal theory that is often used in personal injury cases. It holds that people who fail to take reasonable care in their actions or omissions can be held liable for any resulting harm.
In order to prove negligence, your Los Angeles injury lawyer must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and that you suffered damages as a result of the breach.
Punitive damages are different than damages granted as a result of negligence. They are intended to punish defendants for particularly egregious misconduct and deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
Proving that you deserve punitive damages is a lot more difficult than proving negligence. Your Los Angeles injury lawyer will need to show that the defendant’s actions were willful, wanton, or reckless.
It is important to know that proving negligence is usually a prerequisite to demanding punitive damages.
Your Los Angeles Accident Attorney May Demand Two of Punitive Damages
As with compensatory damages, there is more than one type of punitive damages available in California. The first type is exemplary damage. This is what most Los Angeles injury lawyers refer to when they are speaking of punitive damages.
The second type is something called treble damages. Treble damages are rarely awarded in a car accident lawsuit. They are usually limited to cases involving fraud or malice. A judge would award these damages as a way to deter other people from engaging in future similar conduct.
Your Los Angeles Injury Lawyer Understands That Punitive Damages Are Rarely Awarded in Car Accident Cases
It’s important that you don’t get your hopes up when it comes to receiving punitive damages. They are typically not available in ordinary car accident cases. They’re limited to situations in which the defendant’s conduct was truly egregious.
There are certain factors that can impact whether the defendant’s behavior warrants punitive damages. Some of these factors include:
- the nature of the wrong
- the circumstances of its commission
- the degree of culpability
- whether there were any aggravating or mitigating circumstances
- the wealth of the defendant.
If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may be entitled to punitive damages. An experienced Los Angeles accident attorney can help you determine whether your case is eligible for this type of relief.
How Does Your Los Angeles Accident Attorney Calculate Punitive Damages?
The amount of punitive damages that may be awarded in your car accident case depends on the factors outlined above. It all depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. An experienced Los Angeles accident attorney can help you calculate the amount of damages that may be available in your particular case.
One thing your Los Angeles injury lawyer will point out is that there’s a limit on the amount of punitive damages you can receive. In California, the maximum amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in a single case is $250,000.
What Types of Car Accidents Will Warrant Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are reserved for the most egregious cases of negligence and recklessness. If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s careless or illegal behavior, you may be eligible to collect punitive damages from the at-fault party.
Some examples of car accidents that could warrant punitive damages include:
- A driver who was speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- A driver who texting or scrolling social media at the time of the crash
- A hit-and-run driver who fled the scene of an accident without providing aid or information to the injured parties
If you’ve been involved in any type of car accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced Los Angeles injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will help you understand your legal rights and options and can determine if you have a case for punitive damages.
Does Your Los Angeles Injury Lawyer Have to Prove Malice?
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to receive punitive damages in addition to compensation for your injuries. In order to receive punitive damages, your Los Angeles injury lawyer must prove that the defendant acted with malice or gross negligence.
Malice is defined as a conscious and intentional disregard for the safety of others. Gross negligence is defined as a reckless disregard for the safety of others. If your Los Angeles accident attorney can prove that the defendant acted with either malice or gross negligence, you may be entitled to punitive damages.
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact a Los Angeles injury lawyer today to discuss your legal options and whether you may be entitled to punitive damages.
Can Your Los Angeles Accident Attorney Still Settle if You Demand Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages can be difficult to obtain, because the burden of proof is higher than it is for compensatory damages. In order to recover punitive damages, you must prove that the defendant’s conduct was willful, wanton, or reckless. This can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible.
If you’re seeking punitive damages, you should be aware that the insurance company is likely to vigorously defend against any such claim. They will likely argue that the accident was not caused by the defendant’s recklessness, but rather by something beyond their control.
The insurance company will also try to minimize the amount of damages they have to pay out.
Despite these challenges, it is possible to obtain punitive damages in a Los Angeles accident case. If you believe that the defendant’s conduct warrants this type of award, you should discuss it with your attorney. They can evaluate your case and advise you on whether pursuing punitive damages is worth your time and energy.
Reach Out to a Skilled Los Angeles Injury Lawyer Right Away
If you’ve been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may have a strong claim for damages. This includes punitive damages. The only way to know for sure is to meet with an experienced Los Angeles accident attorney.
Our team of Los Angeles injury lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help determine the value of your case. Our firm offers all new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you the chance to discuss your case free of charge.