Personal Injury Lawyer

To deal with the death of a loved one is never easy. It feels worse when you know that someone died because of someone else’s actions or negligence. What you may not know about wrongful death is that in some cases, you can receive punitive damages. If a driver hit your loved one and he or she lost his or her life, then you may be able to recover punitive damages.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are damages awarded to plaintiffs that are outside the normal compensatory damages. When the court orders punitive damage, this often is used as a deterrent to keep him or her from doing the same thing over again. In most cases, you may receive punitive damages if the other driver was grossly negligent. For instance, drunk drivers are among the most common who have to pay punitive damages.

Do Insurers Pay for Punitive Damages?

If awarded punitive damages, this money will usually come straight from the driver. Insurers do not often pay punitive damages. The insurer will pay compensatory damages. If you settle out of court, you will not receive punitive damages, as it is normally something that the court orders. However, if the court does order the defendant to pay punitive damages, he or she will not be able to rely on the insurance to carry the weight of the bill.

Can You Recover Punitive Damages?

Keep in mind that punitive damages are a form of punishment. A judge will order punitive damages when he or she wants to deter the defendant from acting negligently again. If you are an heir and you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit, then it is possible that you can recover punitive damages. Every state has its own rules surrounding punitive damages. Some may have caps on how much you can receive, while others may have rules on what cases can be awarded punitive damages, if any at all. It is important to speak with a lawyer about punitive damages so that you know more about them before going to court.

If you are filing a wrongful death claim, it is natural to have a lot of questions. Fortunately, if you have a lawyer, you can discuss your options and what type of reward you might receive. After all, every case is different. You may settle out of court or you may go to trial. 



Thanks to Kamper & Estrada, PLLC for their insight into facts about punitive damages.