When someone causes an accident that leaves you injured, you naturally have the right to ask for compensation. You can expect to seek payment for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses.
But what happens when a defendant is not just guilty of ordinary negligence? What if your accident was caused by an act of malice or the other party’s extreme indifference to your safety? It seems like they deserve to be punished — even if their actions weren’t enough to result in criminal charges.
Punitive damages are meant to punish the liable party
In Texas, the term “exemplary damages” is used to refer to financial penalties that at-fault parties may have to pay when they cause serious injuries through behavior in which they knowingly put other people in danger.
For example, someone who causes a car crash because they were distracted by their cellphone may be guilty of the kind of ordinary negligence that people commit all the time. Punitive damages are likely inappropriate. However, when a driver causes a wreck because they were trying to film themselves doing a stunt on a city street for their Instagram page, that could be enough to warrant exemplary damages.
What are the limitations on exemplary damages?
There is a limit on how much can be awarded through exemplary damages of $200,000 or twice the amount of economic damages and the equal in non-economic damages up to a maximum of $750,000. This can increase the amount injury victims are due well beyond the limits of an ordinary personal injury claim.
If you’re seriously injured due to someone else’s actions, don’t try to negotiate with the insurance company on your own. You may be due far more than they are willing to offer. Our firm has been helping the victims of catastrophic injuries collect fair compensation for years. Contact us to learn more.