Car accidents can lead to serious injuries and even the death of loved ones. To have to deal with your loved one’s death is difficult enough. Then, to find out that the death was caused by someone else’s negligence, it can be even more difficult to cope. If you recently lost someone due to the negligence of a driver, then you may be able to file a lawsuit for wrongful death. If you are unfamiliar with wrongful death lawsuits, then you may not know what you are able to ask for when it comes to compensation. You may be able to receive punitive damages too. Here is what you need to know about punitive damages.
What Are Punitive Damages?
When you file a lawsuit for wrongful death, you typically receive compensation for damages that occurred due to the accident or death. This may be expenses associated with the person’s death, lost wages, and pain and suffering for the loved ones. These damages are known as “compensatory damages.”
Punitive damages, on the other hand, have little to do with the damages caused by the other person. These are damages that are supposed to punish the defendant for his or her conduct. Punitive damages are used as a deterrent. The only time that a judge might order these damages is if the conduct of the defendant was incredibly egregious.
Are Punitive Damages Possible?
If your loved one was in an accident and died due to someone else’s negligence, you may be considering punitive damages. Is it possible in your specific circumstances? The best person to advise you on what the judge may order is your lawyer. However, there are some cases that are more likely to have punitive damages attached.
One of the most common car accidents that might lead to punitive damages awarded are drunk driving accidents. Most courts want to deter others from driving drunk and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. If your loved one was hit by a drunk driver, you are more likely to receive punitive damages because drunk driving is considered gross negligence.
Wrongful death damages are not always easy to calculate unless you have experience with wrongful death. If you set up a consultation with a wrongful death lawyer, on the other hand, he or she can advise you on the damages that you can seek. In addition, you have someone experienced advocating for you. To consult with a lawyer, contact a wrongful death lawyer, like a wrongful death lawyer in Des Moines, IA, today.
Thanks to Johnston and Martineau, LLP for their insight into collecting punitive damages after a car accident in a wrongful death lawsuit.