Punitive damages do not apply to every personal injury case in Pensacola. In fact, punitive damages are only awarded by judges in a small number of cases. Typically, these damages are awarded in DUI and hit and run cases, and in cases that involve negligence or behaviors that can be attributed to the use of drugs. A personal injury case in which punitive damages are awarded may also involve a reckless disregard of human life.
Most types of compensation in a personal injury lawsuit are meant to help the victim recover financially. Victims may receive awards that cover past and future medical bills, lost wages due to time off work and more. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are purely meant to punish the defendant in hopes that they will not behave in the same manner in the future. These damages are also meant to serve as an example to others and prevent them from behaving in such a way that causes injury to another person.
Punitive damages are typically reserved for cases of gross negligence. For example, it is considered grossly negligent to make the decision to get behind the wheel after becoming intoxicated. This is because it is clear that this type of behavior poses a serious risk to innocent parties.
If you have been involved in some type of accident and are wondering if you qualify for punitive damages, an experienced attorney can offer assistance.