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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > Personal Injury > When Should I Pursue Punitive Damages In A Personal Injury Case?

When Should I Pursue Punitive Damages In A Personal Injury Case?


If you have suffered serious physical and financial harm due to the reckless, malicious, or egregious conduct of another person or party, you may qualify for punitive damages. It’s important to understand punitive damages before you begin the legal process, because if you initiate your claim without first requesting punitive damages, it is too late and they are no longer an option. That is because under Georgia Law O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1 a claimant must specifically plead punitive damages in their complaint in order for them to be considered. This means there is a very small window of opportunity for you to request these damages. If you believe you may be entitled to punitive damages, it is best to speak with a Fulton County personal injury attorney who can help you to navigate the process and ensure that your pleadings are correctly filed.

What are Punitive Damages?

When an individual brings a personal injury claim they are allowed to seek compensation for all costs incurred as a result of the harm caused by another party’s negligence. This includes all past and future medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and compensation for pain and suffering. These damages are available to anyone who can establish that their harm was caused by another’s negligence, even if the harm was unintentional. But what happens when someone does something truly terrible? That’s where punitive damages come in. Unlike the other kinds of damages available through a personal injury lawsuit which aim to restore the victim to financial wholeness, punitive damages are intended to punish the liable party and discourage others from engaging in similarly reckless or malicious behavior. These damages are typically applied in cases where the conduct was intentional, malicious, or so reckless so as to have been taken with complete disregard for the consequences.

When Should I Request Punitive Damages?

The cases that present the strongest likelihood of receiving an award of punitive damages are those in which the defendant exhibited wanton disregard for the consequences of their behavior, or acted with malice, intended to cause you harm, or engaged in fraud, oppression, or intentional misconduct. You must also be able to prove this by the very high standard of clear and convincing evidence. Punitive damages are often appropriate in product liability cases, particularly where there is evidence that the company was aware of the danger but failed to warn or take appropriate action. Punitive damages are often also appropriate in personal injury cases, however, keep in mind that the judge will be looking for clear and convincing evidence of truly egregious conduct.

Talk to Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers

If you have been seriously injured as the result of another person or party’s egregious, malicious, or intentional misconduct, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers, serving Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, or anywhere in Georgia, are ready to fight to make things right for you. Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers today to schedule a consultation.



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