Does Georgia Have A Cap On Punitive Damages?
If you have been seriously injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be starting to think about what legal avenues are available to you for recovery. Punitive damages are available in Georgia when a defendant’s conduct rose above negligence. This can occur if the defendant intentionally or maliciously attempted to harm the plaintiff, or if the defendant acted with such reckless disregard for the consequences of their actions that a harm like this was bound to result.
What are Punitive Damages in Georgia?
When a victim brings a personal injury lawsuit against the party liable for their harm, they can recover all costs incurred as a result of the harm that they suffered. This includes medical costs, lost income, compensation for pain and suffering, property damages, and the cost of anticipated future care. These damages are all intended to compensate the victim and make them whole; ideally returning them to the financial position they would have been in had the accident never occurred. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are different. Punitive damages are not intended to make the victim whole or compensate them, but rather to punish the offender and discourage other members of the public from acting similarly. For this reason, punitive damages are often awarded in very high amounts. However, there is also a limit on how much of them can actually go to the victim in most cases.
What is the Cap on Punitive Damages in Georgia?
In most cases in Georgia the cap on punitive damages is $250,000. This means that even if the claimant is awarded $7 million in punitive damages, they will only be able to receive $250,000 of that amount. It’s important to note though that there are three very important exceptions to this rule which may apply in your case. First, if it is a product liability case, the $250,000 cap does not apply. However, only 25% of the punitive damages award plus attorney fees and costs will go to the victim; the rest will go to the state. Second, and, likely, more importantly, the cap on punitive damages does not apply in DUI cases, or in cases where the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the victim’s injury. Third, the cap will not apply if the defendant intended to cause harm to the claimant.
Talk to Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers
If you have suffered a serious injury due to another person or party’s willful, wanton, or reckless conduct, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers are ready to fight to protect your rights, hold the responsible party accountable, and get you the settlement that you deserve. Serving Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, or anywhere in Georgia, the attorneys at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers are ready to help you today. Contact our Alpharetta personal injury lawyers now to schedule your free consultation.