If someone hits your car, you’re going to be angry. Nobody ever wants to deal with a car accident. It can be time consuming and expensive. You have to file an insurance claim. You may have to hire a car accident lawyer. And, you could end up spending hours trying to prepare for court. And if the other driver was at fault, you’re really going to be upset. Not only are you going to want them to pay, but you want them to be held accountable. We see this a lot when people are injured by drunk drivers. The fact that someone would drive drunk and put other people’s lives at risk is unforgivable. The same is true for people who drive while they’re high. We’re seeing a lot more of this in Georgia, especially with the opioid epidemic being what it is.
There are certain actions that are so reckless, the courts agree that the defendant should be punished. For example, if someone is driving away from burglary and crashes into someone’s house, they should be punished. Especially if they end up hurting someone like a child or elderly person. Similarly, if someone drives drunk in the afternoon and crashes into a school bus, they may be held criminally responsible. But when it comes to your civil lawsuit, when exactly can your Athens car accident lawyer demand punitive damages? And, how much will these damages be?
These are excellent questions for a local accident attorney in Athens, Georgia. While we’ll briefly touch on them here, if you’ve been the victim of a vicious car accident, you should call right away and schedule your free initial consultation.
What Exactly are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are awarded by the court when they want to punish the defendant. For example, if someone is charged with reckless or drunk driving, there’s a possibility that the judge would award these types of damages. If they think the defendant’s behavior is reprehensible, they may be willing to make an example of them. But this isn’t the case if the accident was caused by simple negligence. If someone rear-ends you in bumper to bumper traffic, no judge is going to award you punitive damages. These aren’t awarded simply to place blame. They’re only used when the defendant did something so terrible that the judge can’t really justify not awarding you punitive damages.
What Kinds of Car Accident Cases Would Warrant Punitive Damages in Athens, Georgia?
There are times when punitive damages could be awarded in a car accident case. These cases typically involve a driver who had absolutely no regard for public safety. Some of the situations in which a judge would be willing to award punitive damages include:
- The defendant was driving with a blood alcohol content well over .15
- The other driver was trying to flee from law enforcement at the time of the crash
- The defendant was in the middle of committing a felony or other crime at the time of the accident
- The defendant was speeding well over the posted speed limit (for example, they’re doing 110 mph in a 45 mph zone)
If the defendant behaves in any of these ways, they may be hit with punitive damages. It’ll be up to your Athens car accident lawyer to demand punitive damages. And, it’ll be up to your lawyer to prove that you’re entitled to them. The judge isn’t going to award these types of damages on their own.
Contact a Skilled Accident Lawyer in Athens and Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation
If you’re injured in a terrible accident, you may be entitled to punitive damages. However, the courts are very reluctant to award these kinds of damages in car accident cases. Most car accidents are caused by negligence. Courts don’t award punitive damages when someone makes a mistake. They only tend to award these types of damages when they want to punish the defendant. If you think this applies to your case, you should call our office right away.
Our team of car accident lawyers has decades of experience. They know how to handle cases like yours. If they think you’re really entitled to punitive damages, they’ll fight to get them for you. They’ll also try to negotiate a settlement with the defendant’s lawyer. Call today so you can set up a time to meet with one of our experienced car accident lawyers in Athens, Georgia.