Houston Punitive Damages Lawyer
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Punitive Damage Lawyer in Houston
If you have been injured in an auto accident or lost a family member in a wrongful death incident, you may wonder whether punitive damages apply to your case. Our Houston punitive damage lawyer can help.
Punitive damages are also called exemplary damages and are controlled mainly by statute within the state of Texas and case law. Punitive damage claims stem from bad conduct, such as a drunk driver or a company that intentionally ignores safety rules causing an accident or fatality.
Our punitive damage attorney in Houston, Texas, has over 35 years of experience getting punitive damages after a serious injury or fatal accident.
How We Can Help with Your Punitive Damage Case
The punitive damages attorneys at the Baumgartner Law Firm have been helping families maximize damages for over three decades in punitive damage cases. The list of multimillion-dollar cases we have handled is exhaustive. Our personal injury success is based on our experience and commitment to justice for our clients.
Our Houston punitive damage lawyers have helped families that have lost a loved one in trucking accidents where we discovered drivers driving over the allowed hours. Often, we have to sue the truck driver to learn of federal safety violations.
We helped families win wrongful death lawsuits when trucking companies broke the safety rules. We have helped burn victims after severe burns from landlord negligence. We have helped victims of drunk drivers sue bars and clubs that over-served drunk drivers. We have helped families who have lost a father and husband in construction accidents.
Our punitive damage lawyers in Houston are very aggressive in helping you win cases involving gross negligence and punitive damages.
We will evaluate your personal injury claims and assess if punitive damages may be appropriate to seek.
Why Hire Us for an Exemplary or Punitive Damage Case?
- Because we limit the number of cases we accept, we can dedicate the time and resources to your punitive damage claim to maximize your damages. We are selective in the cases we agree to pursue to provide maximum personal service to you and your family.
- Our track record of excellence extends over 35 years. We routinely receive referrals from defense attorneys we have worked against when their friends or family members are severely injured or killed.
- Our founder Greg Baumgartner holds double law degrees, is a graduate of Trial Lawyers College, and has been recognized for excellence numerous times over the years, including:
Client Review Awards
Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers and many others.
- We are committed to doing whatever it takes to get justice for you. Our experience, personal service, and exceptional results can’t be beaten.
What You Can Expect If We Accept Your Case
We are very selective in the cases that we agree to handle. And by being selective in accepting cases, we will dedicate the firm to your winning your case. Our first steps after being hired include the following:
We will thoroughly investigate the accident in which you were injured or lost a family member to be in the best position to hold the wrongdoer accountable and obtain justice for your family. Frequently, we will engage licensed investigators and consult expert witnesses to serve justice for you and your family best.
While obtaining punitive damages for negligence is not easy and limited to cases where the conduct was willful or “gross negligence”, we have the experience to calculate your punitive damage claim and fight your fight.
We will often conduct significant research regarding the defendants, prior claims, driving records, safer alternative designs, and other factors helpful to win in your case. Our legal team is headed by Greg Baumgartner a preeminent rated attorney with decades of experience.
Retain Needed Experts
We will retain expert witnesses who can explain the defendant’s actions, accident, and damages to your jury if necessary. These witnesses can include:
- Medical Doctors
- Accident Reenactment
- Safety and Regulations
- Biomechanics and many others
We will frequently work with treating physicians and others to develop the evidence necessary to maximize your recovery in a lawsuit. Because we have been helping families who have lost a loved one for over three decades and have handled thousands of severe personal injury cases, we are uniquely positioned to help you.
Types of Cases We Have Handled for Punitive Damages
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Over Serving by Bars
- 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents
- Defective Products
- Burn Injuries
- Daycare Negligence
- Car Wrecks
- Construction Accidents
We have been Houston’s go-to punitive damage law firm for over three decades. To maximize your compensation and hold wrongdoers accountable, call to see if we can help you! Call (281) 587-1111!
What are Punitive Damages?
Punitive or exemplary damages are damages in addition to and different from “actual damages.” In a personal injury lawsuit, damages include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, and disfigurement.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, actual damages include loss of consortium, financial losses, loss of companionship and society, mental anguish, and loss of inheritance.
Punitive damages are punishment damages and are not measured by the actual damages sustained by the victim. Punitive damages are meant to deter conduct in the future that society believes is reprehensible. In other words, punitive damages are such that they are intended to punish the behavior of a defendant to prevent unconscionable conduct from occurring again!
Under Texas law, punitive damages are referred to as exemplary damages. They are given in personal injury cases where the victim proves clearly and convincingly that the defendant’s actions amounted to gross negligence, malice, or fraud.
Clear and convincing evidence must be presented. Our personal injury lawyers have won many cases and have recovered punitive damages by proof of gross negligence.
What is Gross Negligence?
Gross negligence is often pled in personal injury cases in Texas. Gross negligence is defined as an act or omission, which, when viewed objectively from the standpoint of the defendant at the time of its occurrence, involves an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to others;
And of which the defendant has actual, subjective awareness of the risk involved but proceeds with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others. In short, punitive damages are when the defendant knew his conduct was wrong and dangerous but proceeded anyway!
Gross negligence is not saying that the defendant intended to hurt anyone, only that they knew that their contract was such that it involved dangerous behavior.
A good example would be a person who went to happy hour at the local watering hole and consumed a fair amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel of their vehicle. When they started their trip home, they did not intend to have an accident or hurt anyone, yet they knew they were intoxicated and shouldn’t be driving.
In this example, a drunk driving accident lawyer may sue for gross negligence if they can prove the case with clear and convincing evidence. While they did not intend to hurt anyone, they consciously got behind the wheel drunk, knowing that it was dangerous.
What is Malice?
Malice refers to a specific intent by the defendant to cause substantial injury.
Punitive Damages Law in Texas
The punitive damages law in Texas is found in Chapter 41 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. The law allows the recovery of exemplary or punitive damages only if the victim can prove clearly and convincingly that the harm was caused by fraud, malice, or gross negligence. The jury must be unanimous in their verdict.
In determining the number for exemplary damages, the jury shall consider evidence, if any, relating to the following:
- The nature of the wrong;
- The character of the conduct involved;
- The degree of culpability of the wrongdoer;
- The situation and sensibilities of the parties concerned;
- The extent to which conduct offends a public sense of justice and propriety; and
- The net worth of the defendant.
Net worth is a person’s total assets minus the person’s total liabilities on the date determined appropriate by the trial court. Accordingly, a defendant’s net worth is relevant and subject to discovery in a lawsuit where the plaintiff seeks to recover exemplary damages.
However, Section 41.0115 allows a defendant to file a motion to limit discovery of net worth and tell a claimant has demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the claim for exemplary damages.
Thus, an accident victim must first file a motion to obtain net worth discovery and show the trial court that there is a substantial likelihood of success in getting such discovery. Our punitive damages lawyers have been hugely successful in many Texas cases.
Damage Caps in Texas for Punitive Damages
Texas has a punitive damage cap. Texas law limits or caps the amounts of punitive damages in section 41.008 Texas Civil Practice and Remedy Code. The Texas cap on punitive damages Can severely restrict punishment in cases with limited economic damages.
In Texas, punitive damages are limited to the greater of:
1. A) Two times the amount of economic damages; b) An amount equal to any noneconomic damages found by the jury not to exceed $750,000 or 2. $200,000.
Economic damages are direct economic losses. These would include lost wages, medical expenses, and the like. Conversely, noneconomic damages would be items like pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional pain, loss of consortium, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of companionship and society, and loss of enjoyment of life.
When the Damage Caps do not Apply
There are certain areas where the punitive damage caps provided in Texas law are not limited in amount. Lawmakers in Texas have specified 17 separate Penal Code sections to overcome the damage limits on exemplary claims.
The most commonly used exceptions for personal injury attorneys include Penal Code section 49.07 intoxication assault, Penal Code section 49.08 intoxication manslaughter, and section 22.04 injury to the child or elderly person.
To take advantage of the exceptions to the punitive damage caps, the plaintiff must obtain a specific jury finding that the defendant violated one of the criminal code sections. Additionally, the violation must have been committed knowingly and intentionally.
Corporate Responsibility and Punitive Damages in Texas
To hold a corporation accountable for exemplary or punitive damages based upon the actions of its employee, the plaintiff must prove that:
- The principal authorizes the doing and the manner of the act;
- The agent was unfit, and the principal was reckless in employing him:
- The agent was employed in a managerial capacity and was acting in the scope of employment; or
- The employer or manager of the employer ratified or prove the act.
The actions of a vice principal are deemed to be the actions of a corporation for purposes of exemplary damages. This is because a vice-principal represents the corporation in its corporate capacity. This means that specific individuals’ actions will be deemed the corporation’s actions.
Vice principals can include corporate officers, those with authority to employ direct and discharge employees, those engaged in performing nondelegable duties, and those delegated the management of all or part of the business.
An example where a truck accident lawyer might seek punitive damages includes where the trucking company knew the vehicle was out of service but required the 18-wheeler to be used instead of doing the required repairs first.
Contact A Houston Punitive Damage Attorney
If you have been injured, believe punitive damages may be appropriate, and would like to speak with an experienced Houston punitive damage lawyer, call Greg Baumgartner at Baumgartner Law Firm, which is based in Houston, for a no-obligation consultation. We have collected millions for our clients from punitive damage lawsuits.
Contact us for a FREE initial consultation on an injury accident.
Call (281) 587-1111!
Bifurcation of the Trial on Punitive Damages
Texas provides a procedure where the trial can be split into two separate parts to keep a jury from hearing net worth testimony that may impact the liability determination. If the defendant elects to bifurcate the trial, they must file a motion before the jury selection or as otherwise ordered by a court in a pretrial order. Upon the motion of any defendant, the bifurcation must occur.
When a defendant elects to split the trial, the first portion of the trial is to determine liability for actual and exemplary damages and the number of actual damages. If the responsibility for exemplary damages is established in the first portion of the trial. The second portion of the trial will include the awarding of exemplary damages.
We have found defendants elect to engage in serious settlement discussions after positive findings in the first portion of the trial.
Contact a Leading Houston Punitive
Damage Lawyer Right Away
We have been trusted by Houston families for over 35 years and have numerous wins involving punitive damages. Call Baumgartner Law Firm for experienced and exceptional representation!
Call (281) 587-1111
For a free consultation Contact Us Today
Do you make house calls or hospital visits?
What kind of cases do you accept?
We are very selective in the cases that we agree to handle to provide the best possible service to our clients. By limiting the number of cases that we accept, we can provide the time attention, and resources required to maximize compensation for our clients.
Accordingly, our practice is limited to cases involving substantial injury or a family who has lost a loved one. We have gained a reputation for handling 18-wheeler truck accidents, car and drunk driving crashes, daycare injury cases, and other serious injury and wrongful death matters. To learn more about the cases we cover, visit our practice areas page.
Do I have to pay money out of my pocket to hire you?
Do you handle all types of personal injury cases?
No, we are very selective in the cases that we agree to accept. We intentionally limit the number of cases that we handle and the practice areas for the cases we take to provide the best possible personal service for our clients. To learn more about the cases we cover, visit our practice areas page or you can contact us for individual consultation about your case. (281) 587-1111.
What is the best way to contact you?
We prefer to be contacted by telephone and also respond to our online consultation requests. You can call us 24/7 at (281) 587-1111. We offer Zoom consultations as well.
How successful have you been with your cases?
We are a personal injury law firm with over three decades of experience and are extremely proud of our winning track record of success. Our founder is nationally recognized as among the best personal injury lawyers in the USA. We are undefeated in truck accident cases, wrongful death cases, and daycare negligence and invite you to check out our results page for recent results in cases we won.
For the last 35 years, we have concentrated on maximizing our client’s compensation in serious injury and wrongful death cases. If you are looking for the best personal injury lawyers in Houston – Call us! (281) 587-1111.
for a job well done!
"I can never express how grateful me and my family are to Greg Baumgartner and his team of truck accident lawyers in Houston. He took care of our injury case and got us a great settlement. Thank you for a job well done!"
- R. G. Client
Houston Personal Injury Victim
"I was hit in the rear by an 18 wheeler and was lucky enough to have found Greg – I was overjoyed with the results and highly recommend him."
Houston Personal Injury Victim
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We help folks hurt throughout the Houston area, Including:
Acres Homes, Aldine, Bellaire, Briarforest, Central Business District, Central Northwest, Chinatown, Deer Park, Dickinson, East Aldine, East Downtown, East Houston, Energy Corridor, Fourth Ward, Friendswood, Galeana Park, Greater Fifth Ward, Greater Hobby Area, Greater OST/South Union, Humble, Hyde Park, Independence Heights, Jacinto City, Jersey Village, La Marque, League City, Magnolia, Magnolia Park, Mission Bend, Northside, Northwest Houston, Pasadena, Pearland, Pinehurst, Rice Military, Second Ward, Shady Acres, South Central Houston, South Main, South Park, Southeast Houston, Southwest Houston, Spring, Spring Branch East, Texas City, Tomball, The Memorial Villages, Westchase.