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What are punitive damages?

If you have been injured in a car accident due to the fault of someone else, you may be able to sue for damages.

Compensatory damages are those that reimburse you for financial losses such as time off work and medical expenses. Punitive damages are money received over and above the compensatory damages. They are meant to compensate for pain and suffering, punish the faulty party and serve as an example to the general public.

Was The Other Driver Grossly Negligent Or Knowingly Reckless?

In a claim against a defendant who is responsible for injuries or loss, the plaintiff must show that the defendant acted reprehensibly. This means that the offending driver was grossly negligent or reckless, or acted willfully.

If you were hit by a driver who was extremely drunk, knew he was drunk and yet made the decision to get behind the wheel and drive anyway, this could be considered grossly negligent or wanton behavior. Likewise, if a driver is fully aware that her brakes are faulty but doesn't repair them, and then she rear-ends your car and injures you, this could be considered gross negligence or recklessness.

How Much Extra Money Can A Victim Get?

Typically, the court considers the ratio between compensatory financial losses and pain- and suffering-related punitive damages. The ratio, and thereby the amount of punitive damages awarded, is subject to the determination of judge and jury, who will also consider the level of reprehensibility involved. Having a skilled attorney on your side can help maximize the amount of money you receive.

How Do I Know If I Deserve Punitive Damages?

You should seek legal counsel if you have been injured in a car accident in Montana and want to know more about compensation. Punitive damages are often difficult to quantify, and an experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to compute intangible losses. A lawyer can also act as your vigorous advocate throughout the process.

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