Do the Circumstances of Your Accident Warrant Punitive Damages?
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Mon Nov 2017
You might think you’re the exception. You are more than upset that you were injured. After all, you are saddled with bills and can’t go to work. There’s also the issue of how much you are physically and emotionally are damaged. You want the person who caused you harm to be punished. However, there’s an important question when it comes to applying a money award for retribution purposes. Do the circumstances of your accident warrant an award of punitive damages?
All things considered, you most likely know that the primary goal of personal injury lawsuits is to compensate victims for their injuries, as well as their pain and suffering. Additionally, in some circumstances, the law aims to prevent similar wrongful doings in the future. Punitive damages represent a way to punish the wrongful party and achieve this preventive goal. Meanwhile, punitive and compensatory damages are the same thing. And, not every case qualifies for an award of punitive damages.
Just in case you’re not sure, the purpose of compensatory damages is a little more obvious. You, as the victim have should be compensated for all financial losses suffered as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing. On the other hand, punitive damages are available to punish or deter the wrongful party.
The New Jersey Punitive Damages Act
For starters, you should know that there is a specific part of New Jersey law that deals with punitive damages. The New Jersey Punitive Damages Act begins at NJSA 2A:15-5.9 and follows. Some of the important things to know about punitive damages include the following:
Punitive damages cannot exceed the maximum allowed amount for compensatory damages multiplied by five. They are capped at $350,000, or whichever may be greater in a personal injury case.
In order for punitive damages to be awarded to a victim, he or she has to prove beyond any doubt that the injury and harm suffered were the direct result of the wrongful party’s wrongdoing.
Additionally, when it comes to the punitive damages and New Jersey Wrongful Death lawsuits, certain criteria must be met. For example, there must be proof that the wrongful party caused harm intentionally or in such reckless way that it clearly disregard a victim’s life and well-being.
Pursuing an Award for Punitive Damages
If you or your loved ones were injured as a result of an accident claim, your attorney will review its circumstances and advise you if it is advisable to seek punitive damages. At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo, we are happy to answer your questions and provide you with experienced legal advice. Contact us to see how we can assist you!