Have you been seriously injured in an auto accident in San Fernando Valley by another person's negligent or unlawful behavior? If you answered yes, and the actions of the person that hurt you were atrocious (or outrageously cruel or horrible), a skilled personal injury lawyer may be able to help you recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and are different from compensatory damages, which compensate you, the victim, for actual damages or economic loss related to the injury. In some instances, punitive damages can be many times the amount awarded as compensatory damages.
When are Punitive Damages Awarded?
In California, punitive damages may be awarded "where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud or malice" (California Civil Code § 3294). Your lawyer will work with you to prove that the driver who injured you was aware of the probable dangerous consequences of his conduct, and that he willfully and deliberately failed to avoid those consequences, thereby resulting in your recovery of punitive damages. The issue of punitive damages in car accident cases often arises when the driver was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What is the Purpose of Punitive Damages?
The motive behind punitive damages is not only to punish the defendant in a civil lawsuit, but to discourage repeat behavior by the rest of society. Punitive damages also serve to provide you, the plaintiff, with money for necessary bills potentially not covered in compensatory damages. Again, the accident victim bringing the lawsuit bears the burden of proof in showing that punitive damages are necessary and deserved, which is another reason why it is crucial to hire a San Fernando Valley car accident lawyer to help you recover the financial compensation you deserve.
How Do I Know If I Can Recover Punitive Damages?
To discuss the potential for you to recover compensatory and punitive damages for your injuries, contact a lawyer with a proven record of success.