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When you are involved in an accident caused by another person’s negligent actions, you have the legal right to seek compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial losses you’ve experienced. Additionally, the injuries you suffer could completely alter your quality of life depending on their nature and severity. You may find yourself unable to work, collecting massive medical debt, and experiencing chronic pain, and you can pursue compensation for these damages.

Of the many types of damages you could claim after your accident, one type of damage injury victims could receive is unique: punitive damages. A punitive damage award differs from other types of financial recovery. It can be confusing to understand when and how the courts award this damage, but an Alabama personal injury lawyer can explain how your case may qualify to receive them. Here is everything you need to know about how punitive damages work in personal injury cases in Alabama.

What Are Punitive Damages?

A punitive damages award, also known as exemplary damages, is designed to punish a defendant in a personal injury case and deter them and others from committing similar actions in the future. In Alabama, these damages are – awarded in wrongful death cases, and there must be clear and convincing evidence.

This compensation can be awarded in cases where the courts have determined that the defendant engaged in deliberate actions of oppression, wantonness, fraud, or malice toward the plaintiff.

Examples of cases involving punitive damages include:

  • Intentional harm: A driver hitting a person with their car in anger
  • Reckless conduct: A driver killing someone while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Product liability: A car dealership consciously selling a vehicle with faulty brakes, leading to an accident
  • Gross negligence: A caregiver who disregarded a patient’s well-being, and these actions lead to injury
  • Reckless endangerment leading to death: A property owner failing to restrain an aggressive dog that mauls a person to death
  • Fraud and deception: A business knowingly selling defective or dangerous products yet advertising them as safe
  • Corporate misconduct: A company firing an employee who exposes illegal or unethical activity
  • Breach of fiduciary duty: A corporate officer that embezzles the company’s finances, harming employees and shareholders

Punitive damages can apply to various actions that show a conscious disregard for the well-being of the injured party.

Judge, Jury, and Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded through courtroom trials by the jury. The jury can decide if the plaintiff can receive punitive damages and for how much. However, these awards are subject to judicial review. The judge in the case can amend the value of the awards so they follow the standards set by the law.

Even though punitive damages can only be awarded by a jury, lawyers can demand punitive damages during mediation and negotiations. The plaintiff’s lawyers can preemptively demand the defendant pay punitive damages from the position that if the case goes to court, then the plaintiff will seek punitive damages.

Pain and Suffering vs Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are a different type of damage for personal injury cases than pain and suffering. If a victim suffers emotional or mental pain from an accident, that person may be entitled to receive compensation for their pain and suffering.

For example, you could suffer 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 have you suffering severe pain from multiple surgeries needed to correct an injury after an accident.

Punitive damages, on the other hand, have no connection to the victim’s mental or emotional state. Instead, your lawyer would need to prove in a court of law that the defendant committed egregious conduct through a conscious and deliberate action. Depending on the details of the case, seriously injured victims may be able to receive both pain and suffering and punitive damages. A catastrophic injury lawyer can help you determine if these damages are applicable to your case.

Punitive Damages Cap for Alabama Personal Injury Cases

Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases. Additionally, there is a limit to the amount of punitive damages the injured party can receive in Alabama pursuant to Al Code 6-11-21..

You May Only Seek Punitive Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

This cap does not be applied to cases involving wrongful death. In wrongful death lawsuits in Alabama, a plaintiff will only be able to seek punitive damages. The family may not seek 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 award from the courts, you need a personal injury lawyer you can rely on to fight for you.

With 30 years of experience, the Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown understands the intricacies involved in these cases and can strongly represent you to receive the compensation you deserve.

We believe in clients coming first. Everything we do is about getting you the recovery you need to rebuild your life. It’s not about us. It’s about you, the client.

Call the Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown for Help Today

The legal team from the Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown works on personal injury cases on a contingency-fee basis, so there is no financial risk to you. We only get paid when you win a negotiated settlement or court award.

Call our Montogomery office for a free consultation. Our legal representatives are standing by to discuss your case today.




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Atlanta, GA 30326

Phone: (404) 738-6000

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    Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer

    3390 Peachtree Rd NE, Suite 1100
    Atlanta, GA 30326
    (404) 738-6000

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    2740 Zelda Road, Suite 500
    Montgomery, AL 36106

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