Punitive Damages in Lakewood Auto Accident Claims
Punitive damages, otherwise known as exemplary damages, are designed to punish the at-fault parties for wanton, outrageous, or egregious conduct in order to deter others from committing the same conduct. They serve to punish wrongdoers and serve as an example to others to deter similar behavior. The amount of punitive damages that a person can receive depends on the facts of the individual case. The courts are allowed to exceed the actual damages up to three times the damages that the person suffered.
For more information, be sure to consult with an injury attorney. Doing so could be of benefit towards your effort in obtaining the compensation you may be entitled to.
Obtaining a Punitive Damage Award
Punitive damages are awarded when an injured person can prove that the harm that they received was a direct result of fraud, malice, or willful and wanton conduct.
These damages are dependent upon how a jury views the acts of the at-fault party, and it falls to the attorney to demonstrate these acts. This might include past crimes committed by the negligent driver and other behavior that can be demonstrated to a jury.
Impact of Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Economic and non-economic damages relate to how much the injured party suffered at the hands of the at-fault party. If the suffering was great or the damages are exceedingly high, and if the at-fault party somehow acted maliciously or deceitfully, those factors can increase the injured party’s recovery.
Common Cases Involving Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are often awarded in cases where the at-fault party was drinking and driving at the time of the accident. When the at-fault party gets into a vehicle knowing that they are inebriated or have a loss of capacities as a result of the use of alcohol or drugs, they understand that an inebriation will potentially cause great harm to others. Depending on the losses of the injured party, punitive damages will be awarded by a jury.
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Many, if not most, personal injury losses in Colorado involve cases in which the defendant or the at-fault party was negligent or somehow careless. However, carelessness or negligence is not enough to award punitive damages in Colorado. Punitive damages are only awarded in cases in which the behavior of the defendant was intentional, highly immoral, or extremely reckless.
Courts would consider various factors when deciding whether punitive damages are warranted. They may look at the nature of the act as well as the defendant’s intent in performing the act, all of which would be weighed on a sliding scale against the actual harm that the defendant’s conduct caused to the plaintiff. It falls to the attorney to demonstrate that the defendant or at-fault party’s behavior went beyond negligence, which is a very difficult standard to prove. Due to the complex nature of punitive damages, it is very important to obtain an attorney who can handle the high legal standard that applies.