What to Know About Punitive Damages in Alabama Personal Injury Cases
Accidents can occur at any time, leading to the need for a victim to seek legal recourse in order to recover financial losses. Injuries can completely alter the quality of a person’s life. You can find yourself unable to work or experiencing pain and suffering. One type of compensation an individual can receive is punitive damages. This award can differ from other types of financial recovery like payment for medical bills or property damage. It can be confusing to understand when and how this compensation can be awarded with a personal injury case. Here is everything you need to know about how punitive damages work in personal injury cases in Alabama.
What are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are designed to punish a defendant in a personal injury case and deter the person from similar actions in the future. These damages are typically awarded in wrongful death cases and there must be clear and convincing evidence. This compensation can be awarded in cases where the defendant is determined to have engaged in deliberate actions of oppression, wantonness, fraud or malice toward the plaintiff.
Examples of cases involving punitive damages include a driver who hit a person with a car in anger or a car dealership consciously selling a vehicle with faulty brakes leading to an accident. Punitive damages can also apply to a caregiver who disregarded a patient’s well-being and these actions lead to injury.
Pain and Suffering vs Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are a different type of compensation for personal injury cases than pain and suffering. If a victim suffers emotional or mental pain from an accident, the person may be entitled to pain and suffering compensation. You could have mental anguish because your accident left you in a wheelchair and you are unable to pick up your children or engage in certain activities. Another example could be severe pain from multiple surgeries required after an accident.
Punitive damages have no connection with any mental or emotional damages of a victim. Gross negligence through a conscious and deliberate action would need to be proven by your lawyer in a court of law. Depending on the details of the case, an individual may be able to receive both types of compensation. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine if these damages are applicable to your case.
Punitive Damages Cap for Alabama Personal Injury Cases
This type of compensation is unusual in personal injury cases and there is a limit to the amount of punitive damages a person can receive in Alabama. According to Alabama law, a person may only receive less than three times the compensatory damages or up to $500,000, whichever is greater. Other factors may need to be considered in a court’s decision before being awarded this compensation. This cap may not be applied to cases involving wrongful death. In wrongful death lawsuits in Alabama, a plaintiff may only be able to seek punitive damages and not other types of compensation, since a person died at the hands of another by legal default. If you are a plaintiff, you may need to meet certain requirements before a court may award you this financial recovery.
Are You Eligible for Punitive Damages in Your Alabama Personal Injury Case?
If you have suffered a personal injury due to the willful or reckless actions of another, you may be able to receive punitive damages along with other compensation. To receive this recovery from the courts, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer you can rely on to fight for you. With over 20 years of experience, attorney Dwayne L. Brown understands the intricacies involved in these cases and can strongly represent you to receive the compensation you deserve. Request an appointment for a consultation to discuss your case today.
Posted on Behalf of Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown
Disclaimer: Our staff at the Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown have worked hard to become valued members of the Georgia business community. We write accident news stories with the intent and purpose of bringing awareness to the dangers of driving in our community with hopes that our fellow community members will use added precautions when operating a motor vehicle and avoid being seriously injured in an Alabama accident. This post is not intended to be a solicitation for business. The information provided in this post is not meant to be legal advice or medical advice. The picture used in this post is not representative of the accident described in this post.