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Houma Car Accident Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, also referred to as exemplary damages in Louisiana, are generally limited to defendants who were wanton and reckless in causing harm to another. They are a means of compensating an individual who has been injured as additional damages, but they are also an attempt to deter others from performing this type of reckless activity in the future.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured due to the intoxication of a negligent party, consider reaching out to a compassionate Houma collision attorney who can look into whether you are eligible to receive accident damages. Read on to learn more about how Houma car accident punitive damages are awarded, as well as the ways a determine Houma car accident lawyer can make a difference for you.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages

If the economic and non-economic damages are minimal and one is seeking punitive damages, there are legal guidelines that are not totally clear by the United States Supreme Court. Someone is not likely to get a $10 million punitive damage award which is upheld by the courts if they only suffered $5 worth of damages. On the other hand, if someone suffered economic and non-economic damages of $1 million, then perhaps a $10 million punitive damage award would be allowed, but they are limited in a certain respect. Know that these statutes are changing all the time and that the Louisiana Supreme Court looks to guidance from the US Supreme Court. In general, a multiple of 10:1 is usually held to be constitutional.

Differences Between Compensatory Damages and Punitive Damages

Compensatory damages would usually be calculated as special damages: past lost earnings, future lost earnings, past medical expenses, and future medical expenses. Then there are the general damages, for which the jury is instructed to look at the duration of the pain and suffering or the severity of the pain and suffering to make an award. Punitive damages are going to be awarded in those circumstances in which the party at fault was grossly negligent and intoxicated, and the jury will be instructed that these damages are to deter future behavior.

Role of a Professional Houma Car Accident Lawyer

Because there is no exact way to measure these damages, an experienced car accident lawyer who has a good enough case can argue for as much in punitive damages as they think will be necessary to punish and deter. When a person is looking at an individual for whom punitive damages are going to be awarded, they will be looked at differently than a company.

If someone had a company that hosted an event in which they served alcohol and one of its employees that attended it got into an accident, one may look at that punitive damage case as against the company rather than the individual employee. In that case, attorneys will look at the size of the company, the profitability of the company, and how much money that company earns as net profit for the year. Those are also factors involved with individuals. This evidence is admissible, including both their net worth and their ability to pay.

If you have been injured due to the negligence of an intoxicated driver, consult with a skilled Houma car accident attorney who can help to fight for the award of your Houma car accident punitive damages.