It’s dark outside, and you’re stopped at a red light on the way home. Suddenly, you’re rear-ended by a drunk driver with a .10 BAC, who is legally intoxicated and had “brake failure.” In fact, the driver knew he was operating a truck with defective brakes. Last week, he experienced total brake failure when he hit a parked car. Since then, he’d secretly been topping off his brake fluid and ‘just hadn’t gotten around to bringing his truck to the shop.’ You sustain injuries and are out of work for weeks recovering.
Would a court award you punitive damages for your injuries? Possibly. In a personal injury accident case, punitive damages may be awarded when a defendant’s behavior is sufficiently offensive, reckless, and reprehensible to deserve punishment. Punitives are intended to deter future reckless behavior and penalize the wrongdoer.
In this scenario, a court may award punitive damages for several reasons:
- The defendant was voluntarily intoxicated (.08 BAC) and caused injuries.
- The driver knowingly failed to maintain a safe car that caused the collision.
- The defendant’s misconduct was wanton, reckless, reprehensible, and offensive.
While it’s interesting to speculate, the only way to know whether your case qualifies for punitives, is to consult a personal injury attorney. Punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages, like medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. (Florida Jurisprudence, November 2010, 17 Fla. Jur. 2d Damages § 129.)
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I am local accident attorney Jeffrey Meldon and I strongly believe that public education is the first step in the prevention of and/or recovery from a serious accident. My office and I take pride in our work, and the results we get for our clients.
Meldon Law is a regional law firm that is located in Gainesville, Florida. We are personal injury lawyers, litigators and trial lawyers that have been working to get accident victims the justice they deserve for over 40 years throughout North Florida and all over Florida. Accidents involving a car crash, truck wreck, motorcycle, ATVs, bicycle, pedestrian accidents, and dog bites, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and criminal defense are all included in our practice.
For more information on how we can help you, or with any other question you may have, feel free to contact our office at 352-373-8000.