Damages In Your California Accident Case
If you were injured and believe the actions of the defendant were egregious, you may be able to seek punitive damages. Although they are seldom awarded to personal injury claimants, they may be justified in particular cases. Here are some key elements to remember when it comes to punitive damages in personal injury and accident cases claims in California.
Understanding Punitive Damages
In most cases, a personal injury claimant is allowed to claim compensation. These are monetary reparations that compensate a petitioner for medical expenditures, missed earnings, lost potential earnings, and even psychological stress are all possible damages. Reparations can cover a wide variety of expenses, depending on the circumstances.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to penalize the irresponsible person and dissuade others from acting in a similar manner. As a form of discipline, a judge orders the defendant to pay civil penalties to the victim with the goal of preventing a repeat offense.
Meeting the Burden of Proof for Punitive Damages
The plaintiff has the legal burden of proof for civil penalties. They must be able to go above proving that the defendant owes compensatory damages but should also pay civil penalties because their actions were reprehensible. If granted, the fees will be determined by a jury. The standard of proof for punitive damages is higher than that of negligence. The former must be established by “clear and convincing evidence,” while the latter only needs a “preponderance of the evidence.”
Calculating the Amount of Civil Penalties
It’s critical that the penalty assessed to the defendant be proportional to their income. The goal of discouragement will not be accomplished if the defendant’s prosperity permits them to easily absorb the cost of the penalty without discomfort. Punitive damages should also be determined at least in part based on the extent of harm the plaintiff suffered as a result of the defendant’s conduct. Similarly, the defendant shouldn’t be penalized as harshly for minor injuries to the claimant.
How a California Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
When you or a loved one are seriously injured by the negligence or recklessness of someone else, you deserve not only to be compensated for the damages you suffered but also to see justice done so the same thing can’t happen to someone else in the future. Zink & Lenzi Injury Lawyers can help. Call today for a consultation at 530-895-1234.
Serving the cities of Chico, Durham, Yuba City, Red Bluff, and more in the Sacramento, California metropolitan area.