When you’ve been injured by another driver’s negligence, you’re entitled to compensation for all of your accident-related damages. These include medical care, anticipated future medical needs due to an accident-related disability, lost wages, any loss of future earning potential, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are normally not part of a Louisiana car accident claim but are available in limited circumstances.
What Injury Victims Should Know About Punitive Damages
Typically, damages in a car accident claim are intended to reimburse the injured victim for the harm they’ve suffered. Punitive damages are different because they’re intended solely to punish the at-fault driver and deter any future instances of bad behavior.
Punitive damages are reserved for cases of gross negligence, recklessness, and willful or wanton behavior that pose a serious safety risk to others. For punitive damages to be awarded, the driver’s behavior must be much more serious than the sorts of minor mistakes that account for the vast majority of car accident claims.
Some examples of cases where punitive damages might be considered include:
- The driver was drag racing or playing chicken.
- The driver was drunk or under the influence of illegal drugs.
- There was a known mechanical problem with the vehicle, but the driver continued to use it despite the obvious risk.
- The driver was operating the vehicle with the intent to cause injury to others.
How Punitive Damages Are Determined
It’s difficult to determine what you might receive if your case qualifies for punitive damages because there are many factors that must be considered, including:
- The nature of the driver’s misconduct
- The driver’s available assets
- The future risk the driver poses to others
- The seriousness of the harm you’ve suffered
Since punitive damages are rarely awarded in car accident cases, it’s vital that you work with an experienced personal injury attorney to gather the necessary evidence to support your claim.
Have You Been Injured in a Louisiana Car Accident?
If you’ve been hurt in a Louisiana car accident, you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your right to compensation. Please contact us online, or call our Alexandria office to schedule your free consultation.