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Punitive damages for car accidents are meant to punish at fault drivers for doing something particularly wrong. They can be for significant amounts, but they do not compensate the victim for things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While it can be difficult to get punitive damages after a car accident, it is possible.
If you or a loved one have been hurt in a car accident, reach out to the Ohio personal injury lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick. Let us discuss how much your case is worth, and if you are eligible to recover punitive damages.
Punitive damages are a type of monetary award that might be awarded when a driver does something egregious that results in an injury-causing incident. The at-fault driver’s actions must rise above simple negligence, which is failing to do what a reasonable person would do in a similar situation. Typically, punitive damages are only awarded when someone was malicious, intentional, or grossly negligent.
Some examples of situations where punitive damages might be awarded in car accidents include:
Although these are only a few examples, the court may not award punitive damages in all of these situations. You should talk to an attorney to find out if punitive damages are an option in your case.
In Ohio, punitive damages are not awarded until compensatory damages (economic and non-economic) are decided,. Then, the judge or jury has the option of awarding punitive damages.
During the first stage of the personal injury lawsuit, your attorney will present evidence that you deserve compensatory damages. Those include medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Then, after a compensatory award has been decided, your attorney can present evidence that you also deserve punitive damages.
You can only get punitive damages if you can show that the liable party’s actions were particularly malicious or egregious. If this requirement is reached, the judge or jury will determine if you deserve punitive damages and in what amount.
Unlike economic damages, which have no limit, Ohio law places a “cap,” on punitive damages.
Punitive damages cannot be more than two times the amount of compensatory damages. For example, if you get $50,000 for all of your economic and noneconomic damages, then the most money you can get for punitive damages is $100,000, for a total of $150,000.
The maximum amount of punitive damages you can get after a car accident is $350,000. There are exceptions for catastrophic injuries (where you can get more), and where the defendant is one individual or a small company (where punitive damages are limited to 10% of the individual’s net worth.
Punitive damages are meant to discourage others from similar, irresponsible conduct, and may be an option to maximize your recovery after a car accident. If you’re in suffering after a car accident, you deserve to pursue every dollar of compensation that’s available, and the experienced team at KNR can help. Let us discuss what happened, investigate your crash, and work to get you everything you’re entitled to under the law.
With 11 offices across Ohio, KNR has represented thousands of victims, and we know how to help. Contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick to discuss your claim for damages. Call 1-800-HURT-NOW for a free, no-risk consultation.