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Punitive Damages in Hammond Car Accident Cases

Punitive damages are exemplary or special losses that are rewarded to an injured person to punish the defendant for their misconduct. State law establishes strict limits on punitive damages in Hammond car accident cases.

The court may only award special damages when a skilled attorney can demonstrate that the negligent motorist was impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident and that their degree of intoxication was such that their actions could be described as wanton and willful. In this situation, exemplary damages may be awarded to deter similarly situated people from operating vehicles while intoxicated.

When May a Claimant Receive Punitive Damages?

If the defendant was found intoxicated with a high level of blood alcohol or illegal narcotics in their system, this may be evidence to prove that their actions were willful and wanton. Somebody who is above the legal level of intoxication and causes an accident may have to pay exemplary damages in addition to compensation for other losses. It is important to note that the defendant’s level of intoxication is crucial in determining whether someone may be entitled to punitive damages following a car accident in Hammond.

How Do Other Types of Recovery Factor into Special Damages?

If an injured claimant suffered large economic losses, these may support a plaintiff’s argument in seeking punitive damages. For instance, if someone sustained a serious permanent injury in a Hammond car accident case, they may be able to receive special damages. In cases that lend to punitive damages, the courts may award a claimant three times their noneconomic and economic losses.

The Role of Legal Counsel

An experienced attorney should try to gather as much evidence as possible regarding the condition of the at-fault driver to prove liability and demonstrate the entitlement to punitive damages. The types of evidence that a legal professional may collect include witness statements and any results from breath or blood tests. Gathering test results that demonstrate excessive narcotic use can also be valuable in the civil case. A toxicologist may need to review the results of any test to verify their conclusions.

If the defendant is facing criminal charges as well, an attorney may work closely with the city or parish prosecutor to determine the outcome of the litigation. If the driver is guilty of driving while intoxicated, negligent or vehicular homicide, these convictions can be used in a Hammond auto wreck case to prove the entitlement to punitive damages. The experienced attorney must ensure that there is an accurate chain of evidence that connects the criminal case to the civil claim for damages.

Contact an Attorney to Discuss Punitive Damages in Hammond Car Wreck Cases

If you were in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be entitled to exemplary damages. To learn more about punitive damages in Hammond car accident cases, speak with an attorney. They can assess your losses and determine if you may be entitled to additional compensation. Start working toward compensation today by scheduling a case consultation.