Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Posted on Monday, September 24th, 2018 at 1:57 am
After being injured, there are many things that run through a person’s mind. One of the biggest considerations that people often think about are the financial costs associated with injury. Medical treatments can be expensive and last far beyond the initial visit to the doctor. There can be follow up visits, prescriptions, and other costs associated with healing from an injury. Not everyone has the medical insurance to cover these costs or a large savings account to pay out of pockets for the medical treatment. In Georgia, damages are available to those who have been injured from another’s negligence or wrongful act through a personal injury suit. There are rules and regulations, however, that limit and state what type of damages may be awarded.
The two main types of damages are compensatory and punitive damages. We will look at both in turn.
Compensatory damages are those that have the purpose of making a plaintiff “whole” again. These are the damages that you might typically associate with personal injury and include medical bills, lost wages, and other tangible damages with a set monetary amount. Compensatory damages can also include awards for intangible damages, like pain and suffering, in which the jury determines the value of the award.
Punitive damages are damages that are meant to punish the defendant and deter other individuals from committing the same offense. They are meant to be harsh. Punitive damages are not awarded as often as compensatory damages, though. There are stricter rules and regulations on a jury awarding punitive damages in a personal injury case in Georgia.
In order for punitive damages to be awarded, or even considered, there must be clear and convincing evidence. Clear and convincing evidence is the intermediate burden of proof in the court of law. It means that it must be proved that something is substantially more likely than it is not. Georgia law specifically says, “punitive damages may be awarded only in such tort actions in which it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.” If punitive damages are awarded, they are not to be thought of as compensation to the victim, but “to punish, penalize, or deter a defendant.”
If you have been injured by the negligence or wrongful act of another, you need a personal injury attorney who is going to fight for the compensation you deserve. The personal injury attorneys are Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. are here to help you. We will fight for your damages, whether they by punitive or compensatory. We know that recovering from an injury can be difficult. We want to give you the best chance at making a full recovery without devastating you financially. Contact us today for a consultation.