If you or somebody you care about sustains an injury caused by the careless, gross negligence, or intentional actions of another driver, you should be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. In most personal injury cases, there are various types of compensation that could be awarded, including economic and non-economic damages. This typically revolves around medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. However, punitive damages can also be awarded in the aftermath of a Kentucky car accident.
Punitive damages are a special category of damages in personal injury cases. These damages are not compensatory, which means they or not designed to compensate a victim for the injuries or losses they sustained due to the incident. Instead, punitive damages are awarded for the sole purpose of punishing the wrongdoer in the case and acting as a deterrent to any other person who may display similar conduct in the future. Any damages are not awarded for most personal injury claims and car accident cases in Kentucky. In order to justify punitive damages, a plaintiff and their attorney will need to show that the wrongdoer’s conduct was a result of:
In most cases, punitive damages will be awarded under the “malice” portion of this definition in Kentucky car accidents. In a motor vehicle accident case in Kentucky, this could include a driver operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, particularly if the driver has multiple DUI offenses. This could also include a driver playing the game of “chicken” with another driver on the roadway. Chicken is a game when two vehicles drive towards each other head-on at high speeds. The first driver to swerve out of the way loses the game. However, either driver involved in a game of chicken could lose control of their vehicle or cause a serious accident involving others on the roadway. This type of behavior may warrant punitive damages.
Punitive damages are not calculated based on the amount of compensatory damages that the injury victim will receive. Rather, the appropriate amount of punitive damages will be based on a number of factors, including the following:
Many states in the US place limitations, or caps, on the amount of money that can be awarded for punitive damages. However, there is no limitation on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in a Kentucky personal injury case. The total punitive damage award will be decided by a jury when they make a determination about the amount of economic and non-economic compensation that should be awarded to an injury victim.