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The Potential for Punitive Damages in a Car Accident
Seek Help From a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then Florida law may entitle you to damages as compensation for your losses.
Car accident cases are common, but they encompass a broad set of scenarios. In some cases, the defendant’s behavior was malicious, intentional, or otherwise so reckless as to justify the imposition of punitive damages. This can push the potential damage recovery into the stratosphere.
Let’s take a closer look.
How Do Punitive Damages Work?
Punitive damages are unique in that they are not meant to “compensate” the injured plaintiff for their losses. Instead, they are meant to “punish” the defendant for their egregious misconduct or to act as a deterrent.
This deterrent impact is critical. Punitive damages are intended to be so significant that the imposition of punitive damages discourages others from engaging in similar misconduct. Many “famous” multimillion-dollar personal injury disputes involve an award of punitive damages.
How are punitive damages calculated?
Punitive damages act as a multiplier on the baseline compensatory damages amount. So, for example, if you have losses totaling $50,000, you may be able to persuade a court to impose punitive damages with a multiplier of up to seven times that amount (i.e., $350,000), for a total of $400,000.
Punitive Damages in the Context of Car Accidents
Under Florida, punitive damages are potentially available if:
- The defendant engaged in intentional misconduct, or
- The defendant was grossly negligent.
Gross negligence may be confusing at first glance, but all it means is that the defendant was reckless to such an extent that their conduct demonstrated a conscious disregard for the life and/or safety of others.
In the car accident context, punitive damages may be available if the defendant injured you due to road rage, for example, or if they were driving while intoxicated (indicating a conscious disregard for the safety of others).
It’s worth noting that, even if you can show that the defendant was intentional in their misconduct, or grossly negligent, the court is not required by law to impose punitive damages on the defendant. Punitive damages are discretionary. The key to successful recovery is persuasive advocacy.
Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Today for Legal Representation
Here at Alley, Clark & Greiwe, our team has decades of experience advocating on behalf of injured plaintiffs in a wide range of disputes, including car accident lawsuits that involve a potential claim for punitive damages.
We understand just how overwhelming personal injury litigation can be, especially for first-time plaintiffs. Injured plaintiffs often shy away from the possibility of bringing a lawsuit, despite their case being legitimate. We work tirelessly to ensure that our clients are kept informed of case developments and that we are representing their interests while minimizing the challenges along the way.
If you’ve been injured in a Florida car accident, we encourage you to get in touch with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer at Alley, Clark & Greiwe. Our attorneys are standing by to evaluate your case and provide further guidance.