Can Punitive Damages Be Awarded in Negligence Cases?
If you’ve suffered a personal injury that was caused by another person’s negligence, you’ll want to know what kinds of damages you can pursue legally. You may have heard about punitive damages, which are an additional form of compensation for damages beyond your original award.
You may be entitled to punitive damages depending on the extent of your injuries. A lawyer from our firm can determine what kinds of damages could apply to your specific situation. Contact us today to schedule your case evaluation.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary or vindictive damages, are awarded in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for his or her actions and deter future similar conduct by others. Punitive damages are not awarded in every case and must be requested by the plaintiff.
If you want punitive damages on top of your compensatory award, you need to ask for them specifically when presenting your case at trial or during settlement negotiations with your lawyer’s help.
Examples of Punitive Damages in Cases
Punitive damages are usually awarded when the defendant has committed fraud or some other extreme behavior that harms society at large.
For example, cases warranting punitive damages can include:
- Cases involving personal injury from defective auto parts. In these cases, punitive damages might be awarded because it’s important to punish the manufacturer who sold unsafe products to consumers.
- Cases involving environmental pollution. This could mean corporations or individuals intentionally causing harm to others through their actions (like dumping toxic waste into a river). Punitive damage awards in these situations help deter future negligent behavior by sending a message that this type of conduct will not be tolerated.
How Much Can You Get In Punitive Damages?
The amount of punitive damages that a plaintiff can recover is usually much higher than that of compensatory damages. In fact, in many cases, the award for punitive damages far exceeds any other award made by the court.
Punitive damages are intended to punish and deter wrongful conduct. They are not designed to compensate you for your injuries or losses. Instead, they serve as retribution for what was done to you by punishing the defendant financially.
Punitive awards are usually set at two times or more than your compensatory damage award if they are both available in your jurisdiction. For example, in Nevada, injury victims can pursue:
- Three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded if the amount of compensatory damages is $100,000 or more
- $300,000 if the amount of compensatory damages awarded … is less than $100,000
However, there are some circumstances where punitive damages are uncapped such as personal injury cases involving defective products, bad faith insurance, discriminatory housing practices, exposure to toxic/hazardous substances, or defamation.
How Can You Get Punitive Damages In Nevada?
In Nevada, you can seek punitive damages in a personal injury case, car accident case, slip and fall case, or medical malpractice case. To pursue punitive damages, you must have evidence of malice. Malice is defined as a reckless disregard for the safety of others or a deliberate intention to cause harm.
For example, if a driver is texting while driving and hits your car, causing you to be injured, you may be able to recover punitive damages. Or if a doctor fails to read an X-ray or MRI before performing surgery on you, causing additional damage, this could be considered malicious, and be cause for punitive damages as well.
Punitive Damages Can Be Challenged
In some cases, punitive damages can be challenged. This means that you may have the punitive damages reduced or eliminated entirely from your case. If you are looking for ways to get punitive damages removed from your personal injury claim, several things can help your case.
For a plaintiff to get punitive damages reinstated in their personal injury claim, they must demonstrate that they suffered irreparable harm as a result of negligence committed by the defendant.
They must also show that this harm was intentional and malicious on behalf of the defendant or that negligent acts occurred before filing suit against them.
What Other Damages Are Available in Negligence Cases?
Punitive and compensatory damages are the two types of damages available in negligence cases. Compensatory damages attempt to compensate victims for their losses and include economic and non-economic damages.
A compensatory award can reimburse victims for:
- Medical Care
- Lost Wages
- Reduced Earning Capacity
- Pain and Suffering
- Rehabilitation Expenses
- Physical Therapy
- Loss of Enjoyment of life
A personal injury lawyer can help you calculate the value of your compensatory damages to present in court.
Do I Need A Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you are injured in a car accident, it is highly recommended that you contact an attorney. When you’re injured and in pain, facing the legal process alone can be overwhelming. The laws surrounding these cases are complex and difficult to understand at the best of times. A Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can help.
Personal injury lawyers often have access to experts who can help prove or disprove who was at fault for causing your injuries, what those injuries are worth, and how long they’ll last.
The majority of people who go through this process without having a qualified professional by their side often end up settling for less than they should have received because they don’t understand how insurance companies work or what happens during negotiations between attorneys.
Contact a Nevada Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Punitive damages are a way to ensure that companies and individuals who have been negligent will think twice before acting the same way again. If you or someone you love has suffered due to someone else’s actions, our Nevada personal injury lawyers can guide you through the legal process. Contact De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.