Punitive damages in Charleston car accident claims are rarely awarded, but not impossible to establish in court. If you believe that you have been harmed due to the gross negligence of another, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney who could help you seek compensation for your losses and hold those negligent accountable. To learn more about an attorney’s role in helping your recover damages, which may include punitive compensation, call today.
What are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages in Charleston car accident claims are awarded to punish and deter a defendant from repeating the same grossly negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct. It is critical to understand that there are some general guidelines a jury must follow when awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are not supposed to be out of proportion to the amount of compensation, both economic and non-economic, awarded to the victim. A defendant may argue that the amount of economic and non-economic damages are too high. However, the jury holds the final decision on how much to award to a claimant and to hold the defendant responsible for.
An example of what may lead to punitive damages is a drunk driving accident. This is because an individual’s decision to drink and drive could be considered grossly negligent.
Calculating Punitive and Compensatory Damages
A car accident attorney may choose not directly to link punitive damages with other compensatory damages. In fact, they might decide to keep these damages separate, establish an amount they think is fair, and as the jury to return a verdict based on that amount. Different lawyers have different methods when offering amounts to juries and may try to explain punitive damages in another way so that a jury can clearly understand why these specific damages may be called for.
Determining Punitive Damages
There are many variables to consider when determining punitive damages in Charleston car accident claims. Appellate court cases since 2000 show that a wide range of discretion is granted to the trial court and the jury regarding the amount of a punitive damages award. Suggestions and defense arguments have been made about what is a reasonable proportion. Sometimes, the punitive damages awards are five to eight times the actual compensatory damages.
It is important to note that when a claimant requests a disproportionately high amount for punitive damages, the defense may stand a stronger chance of rebuking that value. It all depends on what the jury perceives as unreasonable. Punitive damages all depend on the discretion of the jury, the facts of the case, the circumstances surrounding the case, and the in-court analysis.
Call to Learn More About Punitive Damages in Charleston Car Crash Claims
If you think that your case may have merit for punitive damages, contacting an attorney may help your odds in a trial. Punitive damages in Charleston car accident claims are not out of the realm of possibility, and if your claim warrants it, you could hold grossly negligent parties accountable for their actions. Call today for more information about how an attorney could help you recover the damages you deserve.