What are punitive damages in a car accident case?

Question

What are punitive damages in a car accident case?

Answer

In a car accident case, punitive damages are financial penalties paid to the injured party that punish the wrongdoer for causing the injury. Punitive damages are only awarded in some cases and in some states. And the wrongdoer’s behavior must have been particularly reprehensible. For example , here are some scenarios that might result in punitive damages in states that allow them:

* Using as using a vehicle as a weapon to intentionally assault or kill another person.

* Causing injury while driving under the influence.

* Causing injury while driving recklessly or aggressively, such as driving with road rage or drag racing.

As these examples illustrate, punitive damages are available only when the wrongdoer knew or should have known that his or her behavior would likely cause damage to life or property.

Punitive damages are different from other types of damages in their goal to punish the wrongdoer. In contrast, other types of damages -- such as special damages and general damages -- aim to financially compensate the injured person for his or her losses, including financial losses (medical bills, future rehabilitative care, lost wages) and non-financial losses(pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and others).

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