Punitive damages in Georgia are only allowed in personal injury cases wherein the defendant’s conduct can be proven egregious, or there are other aggravating circumstances that cannot be overlooked. When the defendant’s actions can be deemed to have exhibited fraud, willful misconduct, or even oppression, it could raise the presumption of conscious and deliberate indifference to the consequences. In such cases, you will do good in hiring a reputed personal injury attorney in Decatur, GA, to defend your case.
How to Get Punitive Damages in a Georgia Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Punitive damages are treated differently than other kinds of damages in a personal injury case. These damages must be specifically identified in a lawsuit; else, the claim can be waived off. In most personal injury claims, the injured claimant files for compensatory damages that are more commonly referred to as tangible or non-tangible, economic or non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include a claim for compensation for the suffering, pain, and emotional distress that a victim undergoes.
According to Georgia law, punitive damages are not considered as compensation for a plaintiff’s injuries. Instead, punitive damages in Georgia are intended to accomplish two goals. One – punish the defendant for his willful misconduct or egregious conduct, and two – serve as a deterrent to the defendant as well as other to not engage in any similar conduct in the future.
What Is the Legal Standard of Proof to Establish Punitive Damages?
In Georgia, there is a stricter standard of proof for a plaintiff to establish that the other party’s conduct was egregious enough to mandate an award for punitive charges. To prove all the elements of a negligent personal injury claim, the plaintiff will have to offer proof by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, the plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant’s conduct was negligent and that the negligence led to the accident and injuries. Therefore, if you were a victim of a personal injury case and wish to file for punitive damages, you must hire an experienced personal injury lawyer in Decatur who understands the laws and statutes with respect to punitive damages in Georgia.
When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?
Punitive damages are awarded only in certain cases. For instance, it can be imposed in product liability cases, wherein a medical device company or a drug company willfully and purposely withheld test results or data that clearly indicates that consumers using the commodity can be exposed to a high risk of complications and failed to give users any precursor or warning of the risks.
Aside from the scenario mentioned above, a plaintiff may also solicit the help of a car accident attorney in Decatur to file for punitive damages in certain other cases. A few examples of deplorable misconduct that can warrant issuing of punitive damages include.
- Sexual assault
- Abuse in a nursing home
- Sexual misconduct with a mirror
- Drunk driving
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Felony assault
Drugged driving or DUI may also be considered a sufficiently aggravating circumstance wherein a plaintiff may file for punitive damages in Georgia. However, the jury will decide if the plaintiff must receive punitive damages.
Punitive damages in Georgia are only imposed against a person who commits a tort. Let us take, for instance, a DUI case that involves a drunken driver. If a server served drinks to a minor and was aware that the person would be driving and could meet with an accident, he or the establishment can be deemed partially responsible. In such cases, a jury could impose punitive damages against the driver, who in this case is an active tortfeasor. On the other hand, the injured victim can collect compensatory charges from the restaurant or bar for having violated the state Dram Shop laws.
If you or someone you love has been in an accident and wishes to file for compensation, contact The Hurt 911 Injury Group to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Atlanta. Our attorneys have years of experience and will help you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Call us today at 1-800-522-2277.