What Are Punitive Damages?
As a victim of a crime or accident, you may be entitled to receive additional compensation in the form of punitive damages.
Standard compensation covers medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, lost wages, and other losses. However, punitive damages serve as a punishment to the at-fault party. These damages are awarded to help offset the injury and emotional pain suffered by the victim. They are also meant to serve as a deterrent to discourage similar behavior in the future.
The decision to award punitive damages is made on a case-by-case basis and is typically determined by the severity of the accident and the actions of the at-fault driver.
Are There Limits to Punitive Damages?
In Georgia, most punitive damages are capped at $250,000. However, there are three exceptions to this limit.
Firstly, product liability claims are not limited by the statutory cap, but only 25% of the punitive damage, plus attorney fees and costs, go to the plaintiff. The remainder goes to the Georgia State Treasury.
Secondly, the cap does not apply if the defendant was under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other substances at the time of the action leading to the plaintiff’s injury.
Finally, there is no cap if the defendant acted with the specific malicious intent to cause harm.
In South Carolina, punitive damages awards for most accident cases are limited to the greater of three times the actual damages or $500,000.
For example, if the amount of the actual damage is $100,000, the maximum amount of punitive damages that can be awarded is $500,000.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney at The Brown Firm
At The Brown Firm, our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience handling personal injury claims. Our PI lawyers have years of experience and knowledge to guide you through the aftermath of an accident.
We understand the difficulties of a personal injury and offer free consultations to accident victims in Georgia and South Carolina. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 800-529-1441 to schedule your free consultation.
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