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Carrollton Car Accident Punitive Damages

Following a car accident, there are three types of damages that you could potentially recover: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. However, of the three types of accident damages, punitive damages are the least likely to be awarded to you. If you want to know more about Carrolton car accident punitive damages, work with a skilled accident lawyer that can advocate for you.

How Economic and Non-Economic Damages Relate to Punitive Damages

There is no direct correlation between non-economic, economic damages and punitive damages. Punitive damages are actually awarded in a separate trial after non-economic and economic damages have been awarded in Georgia. For example, in a car accident case involving a DUI driver, while the jury may return a verdict for non-economic and economic damages, totaling $25,000, they may also award punitive damages in a separate trial for any amount over and above that number.

The news has been full of cases where punitive damages in the millions have been awarded, while non-economic and economic damages have been small. The Georgia Supreme Court and other appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have reeled that in a bit, so any punitive damages award cannot be disproportionate to the economic and non-economic damages award. However, a punitive damages award is in excess of non-economic and economic damage awards.

Are Punitive Damages Calculated Similarly to Compensatory Damages?

Carrolton car accident punitive damages are not calculated the same way that compensatory damages are. When punitive damages are awarded, it is to deter others from engaging in similar conduct. These awards are generally large amounts of money because punitive damages awards are the awards that the public generally hears about in the news.

They are sending a message to the defendant and to any other person out there that decides to do the same behavior as the defendant, that it will not be tolerated in a civil courtroom.

In the criminal courtroom, the jury can send the defendant to prison; putting that defendant and the rest of the world all notice that crime will not be tolerated. In a civil lawsuit, there is no prison sentence. Therefore, the jury sends a message with a monetary amount.

Circumstances That Can Lead to Punitive Damages

If the driver made the bad decision of operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or in rare circumstances, if the tires and/or brakes of the vehicle were knowingly faulty or the vehicle should not have been operated on the road. Another instance is called Dram Shop liability, which is usually for a convenience store, restaurant, and bar owners when they knowingly serve a visibly intoxicated person and that visibly intoxicated person gets in their car, drives off, and causes an accident.

Other instances of punitive damages occur when tractor-trailer drivers operate their semi/tractor-trailer outside the specific standards and laws set forth by the Federal Government about operating their semi/tractor-trailer. For instance, semi/tractor-trailer drivers are only allowed to operate their trucks for a specific time period during the day and are supposed to keep detailed log books on their trucks showing exactly how long they have been operating that day. In order to make more money, truck drivers forge their log books so they can drive more hours per day, which may result in an accident. That often results in Carrolton car accident punitive damages.

How Juries Award Damages

It is not very common very common for a jury to award Carrolton car accident punitive damages. Juries award punitive damages maybe 15 percent to 20 percent of the time. If the behavior of the defendant is so egregious that it really stands out from the norm,  punitive damages will probably be awarded.

Permanent disability alone would not open up punitive damages. However, drunk driving 9.9 times out of 10 means that punitive damages may be sought. In the State of Georgia, the standard is if the defendant acted with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of another human being, and while doing the act caused injuries or death, punitive damages could be sought.

How Carrollton Car Accident Attorneys Can Help

From the initial intake consultation, an experienced attorney could begin preparing your case for the jury, in order to help you receive a fair and complete economic and non-economic damages award. If there is any indication that Carrolton car accident punitive damages may be sought, they will begin compiling jury verdict evidence from around the State regarding awards in similar circumstances. If there are any cases involving similar circumstances, it is helpful to see what amounts of punitive damages other juries have awarded. Seek the services of a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to learn more.