At the base, personal injury cases generally involve the negligence of one party causing harm to another party. If the injured party can prove that negligence, then they may be able to recover compensation from the negligent party to pay for their medical bills and other expenses that arose as a result of the accident.
Although injury and property damage are the standard expenses that are present in personal injury cases, there are other damages — punitive damages — which can be recovered by the injured party in cases of extreme negligence and malice.
What are Punitive Damages?
The general purpose of a personal injury claim is to recover damages: Money was lost because of someone’s negligence, so that negligent party must pay that money back. Punitive damages differ because they are meant as a consequence of the negligence, rather than compensation for expenses. They are similar to a fine, but are still an element of civil proceedings.
Conditions for Recovering Punitive Damages
The term “negligence” in a personal injury case can apply to many different behaviors, including forgetfulness, ignoring laws, or doing something that is known to be dangerous. The payment of punitive damages is rare because an injured party must prove that their harm is a result of negligence well beyond the typical definition, or an act of malice in which the harm was intentional. To receive punitive damages, an injury victim must be able to prove that the person who harmed them acted purposefully, or it must be decided that the negligence was so great that compensation is not sufficient amends for their actions.
How Do I Know if Punitive Damages are Appropriate in my Case?
Punitive damages are not usually awarded unless substantial evidence of malice or gross negligence is provided. This type of damages are complex because they exist in a kind of “gray area,” in which the definition of when their administration is appropriate is up to interpretation. For insight into your injury case, contact McHargue & Jones, LLC.
We offer free consultations to discuss the details of your claim. Contact our attorneys through our information form or by calling (312) 487-2461.