Can my attorney pursue punitive damages in my car accident case?
If you were involved in a serious traffic collision that was someone else's fault, you may be entitled to compensation through a car accident claim. Typically, the damages that you can pursue compensation for include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. There are some cases where your attorney will pursue punitive damages.
What are punitive damages?
In most cases, the damages that you're compensated for cover your economic and non-economic losses. Punitive damages don't reimburse you for any crash-related losses. Instead, they're intended to punish the driver who hit you and send a clear message that reckless behavior won't be tolerated.
Punitive damages don't apply to every crash that involves negligence. In order for your attorney to be able to pursue punitive damages, the defendant must have known that his or her conduct at the time of your crash would cause serious harm.
How are punitive damages pursued?
In order to pursue punitive damages, the plaintiff must prove that the actions that led to a crash qualify for punitive damages, under Kansas Statute 60-3701. Punitive damages don't apply to crashes caused simply by negligence. There is a difference between negligence and gross negligence.
Negligence occurs when one party fails to act responsibly or uphold his or her duty of care to other drivers. This may be an inattentive driver who causes a crash.
Gross negligence occurs when one party shows a complete disregard for the law and the safety of other drivers. This may be someone who knowingly drives in a manner that puts others in danger. This includes driving drunk, driving at a dangerous speed and aggressive driving.
If punitive damages are allowed to be pursued, a separate proceeding will need to be conducted to determine how much can be awarded in compensation. Your attorney will need to consider the following:
- The degree of the at-fault driver's awareness that his or her actions would cause harm
- Intentional concealment and duration of the at-fault driver's actions
- Attitude and conduct of the at-fault driver at the time of the crash
Contact a Wichita lawyer if you were injured by someone else's gross negligence
Someone else's gross negligence may have caused you or a loved one serious harm. This may include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Bone fractures
- Spine, neck and back injuries
- Crushed limbs
- Nerve damage
- Internal injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
The experienced Wichita car accident attorneys at Warner Law Offices have seen how devastating crashes caused by gross negligence can be. Don't hesitate to consult with us to learn about the legal options available to you. Our legal team will launch a thorough investigation into your crash and gather the facts needed to support your claim. Not only will we advocate for a fair financial settlement to cover your losses, we'll fight to hold the reckless driver who hit you accountable.
To schedule your free and confidential case evaluation, simply fill out our contact form.