While the details of personal injury suits can vary widely, the majority of successful claims result in general and special damages only; essentially, these are damages which are designed to cover the costs of medical care, property damage, etc. In a few instances, however, it’s possible that you can be awarded punitive damages as well.
What Are Punitive Damages?
In Georgia, punitive damages are those which are awarded if the party who is responsible for the injury demonstrated malicious, fraudulent, or certain other types of willfully negligent behavior. These damages are awarded on top of the usual general and special damages.
If the negligent behavior in the case was NOT an intentional tort or product liability issue, then you may recover a maximum of $250,000 worth of punitive damages. However, if it can be proven that the negligent party actually acted with the intent to cause harm, or that they were under the influence of drugs and alcohol, there will generally be no limit to the damages you can recover.
Product liability cases are unique, as the state of Georgia will collect 75% of all punitive damages in these cases. However, there is no limit to the amount of damages you can recover in these cases.
A Higher Burden of Proof
In personal injury claims which do not involve punitive damages, you usually must prove only that the other party was acting negligently at the time of the incident, and that their negligence caused or directly led to your injuries.
If you are seeking punitive damages as well, you will need to prove that the other party willfully engaged in negligent behavior or was malicious in their actions. These are actually just a few of the behaviors which can lead to punitive damages, so it is important to consult with your Marietta injury attorney if you believe you have a punitive damage case.
Injured Due to Another Person’s Negligence?
At Jones & Swanson, our Marietta injury lawyers have more than 60 years of combined experience in the field of personal injury law. We have recovered more than $50 million on behalf of our clients, and can put our knowledge and experience to work for you when you hire our firm.