Under California personal injury law, if you suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to recover compensation for your incurred damages. Depending on the type of accident you were involved on, the amount of compensation may be enough to cover your medical expenses and lost wages, as well as payment for your pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Aside from that, you may also be entitled to receive punitive damages. Also called exemplary damages, it is a monetary compensation that is awarded to you to serve as punishment for the defendant and to prevent others from committing a grave act in the future.
Basically, the amount of punitive damages that you may receive is based on how bad the defendant’s conduct at the time of the accident. Also, it is determined by the weight of your presented evidence, as well as the extent of the damages you suffered because of intent or negligence.
Punitive damages are also a way to compensate you not only for the actual losses you incurred but also the intangibles that are not valued through money. But when are they only entitled to you? To begin with, not all personal injury accidents always involved punitive damages. However, in general, they are often available in tort and personal injury cases, as in product liability and medical negligence.
As it is, there are certain circumstances that must be present for you to have a chance to receive them. Here are some of the instances which may result in the appropriation of punitive damages to you:
- The conduct of the defendant was deemed as malicious, especially if there the factor of intent when he or she caused your injury.
- The conduct of the defendant was reckless that may compromise your rights or your safety.
- The conduct is outrageously bad or reprehensible.
In California, you are first awarded compensatory damages before you punitive damages are allowed. If you have inquiries regarding such, you may consult with an expert Los Angeles personal injury attorney.