Can I Get Punitive Damages in a Truck Accident Injury Case?
Written by Greg on February 5, 2020
When you get hurt in an accident, you might suffer severe or even life-threatening injuries. If the accident is due to the negligence of someone else, that person is responsible for your damages.
Damages are your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other costs you incurred because of the injury. If the negligent party was grossly negligent, you also might have punitive damages. Punitive damages are also called exemplary damages. An experienced Houston accident attorney will review your case and assist you in getting the compensation you are due.
What are Damages in an Accident Claim?
Damages that result from a truck accident may be actual or punitive. Three main categories of damages include:
- Exemplary or Punishment (Punitive Damages)
Actual damages are monetary or non-monetary. Actual damages may include such things as medical expenses, medication costs, future medical care, and lost wages. Non-economic injuries are those that do not have an exact monetary value such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and physical impairment.
Punitive damages are considered exemplary damages under Texas law. These damages are awarded as punishment and are separate from monetary and non-monetary actual damages.
Punitive Damage Limitations
Texas law restricts punitive damages in personal injury cases. The law caps punitive damages at the greater of $200,000 or twice economic damages plus the equal non-economic damages up to $750,000. The cap does not apply if the act that caused the injury was a felony. The maximums are different for medical malpractice cases. There are no limitations on the money you can obtain for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Punitive damages are not automatic. You must request punitive damages as part of your claim. The judge will evaluate the case and determine whether punitive damages are appropriate. If so, the judge will decide on the award.
The judge might award punitive damages for an injury by fraud, malice, or gross negligence. Punitive damages only apply if other damages have occurred. For instance, you could not sue someone only for punitive damages unless you also suffered economic or non-economic losses.
Am I Entitled to Punitive Damages?
Every case is different and has a unique set of facts. Only the judge can make an official decision as to whether punitive damages are appropriate in a particular situation. An experienced 18-wheeler accident attorney can review the details of your case and have a good idea of whether your case should include exemplary damages. To be granted punitive damages, you must be able to show that the other party was grossly negligent or did something purposely to cause an accident or harm.
If you get hurt in an accident, do not wait to get legal guidance. Call the Truck accident attorney for a consultation. Never a charge for an initial injury consultation.
Call (281) 587-1111.