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Bucks County Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Personal Injury > Understanding Punitive Damages

Understanding Punitive Damages


Also referred to as exemplary damages, punitive damages are a path to punishing a person or entity for negligence. Compensatory damages are the expenses that need to be settled in order to compensate the plaintiff for expenses directly related to the accident injury, such as medical bills, medication expenses, and lost wages. Punitive damages are different. They are awarded when a defendant was particularly reckless or caused harm intentionally.

While punitive damages are not the norm, there are situations where pursuing punitive damages is appropriate. If you believe another was so careless that they caused your Pennsylvania accident injuries, punitive damages may be an option. When a person is totally reckless in their responsibility to keep others safe, a Bucks County personal injury attorney could pursue damages beyond compensatory compensation.

Aggressive Speeding, Drunk Driving, and Other Reckless Behaviors

If you are wondering if the event you were involved in could lead to a punitive damage award, the answer likely resides in if an individual caused the wreck maliciously or with complete disregard to other people. Punitive damages are possible in medical malpractice cases, car accident cases, assault claims, and more.

Some examples of when a car driver could be held responsible for punitive damages:

  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Texting or participating in another form of distracted driving
  • Aggressively speeding or other reckless driving behavior

It is important to note that punitive damages are not stand alone claims, they are awarded in connection with another form of compensation, such as a compensatory damage recovery package. In fact, the punitive damage award is often a proportion of the other settlement amount. For instance, you may receive 75% of your compensatory damage amount as a punitive damage award.

To protect the legal system from abuse and fraud, a victim must be able to clearly prove the person was grossly negligent in order to receive punitive damages. After all, they are not designed to compensate a plaintiff for direct expenses like compensatory damages. Punitive damages are granted by a Pennsylvania court when the court wants to make it clear to all involved that the conduct of the defendant is not acceptable in society.

Talk to a Pennsylvania Lawyer About Compensatory Compensation and Punitive Damages

Personal injury law is complex. You do not need to learn the ins and out of the legal system in order to secure the damage recovery you deserve. Connect with a Bucks County personal injury attorney to protect your rights.

Could you use some candid advice about what damage recovery options are possible for you following a Pennsylvania car crash? If you have property damage and injury following a collision, talk to a lawyer. You may have a right to a larger financial amount if the accident was caused by another’s negligence. Contact a member of the legal team at Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Our attorneys know how to secure the maximum settlement amount possible. Accidents happen every day. When they happen to you, it is essential you have a lawyer fighting for your rights. Reach out today, call 215-968-6602.

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