What are punitive damages in a Texas car accident case?



Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, are different from other damages you may receive in a car accident case; they are damages meant to punish the person at fault. The idea is to force the defendant to pay a large amount of money so they learn their lesson and are less likely to make the same mistake twice. If you win your case, you might be compensated a certain amount for your pain and suffering, but punitive damages have nothing to do with your compensatory damages. If the judge or jury determines that the defendant's actions were especially reckless, intentional, or malicious, they may require them to pay punitive damages to punish them. Of course, you would generally receive the money in this case as well, but the original purpose was to teach the defendant a lesson...not put money in your pocket.

In the case of car accidents, the person at fault may have to pay punitive damages if they were driving entirely too fast, their blood-alcohol content far exceeded the legal limit, they ignored traffic laws, or they drove their car knowing it was not safe to be on the road.

If you were injured in a car or truck accident because of the negligence of another person, Austin attorney Earl Straight might be able to help. Contact him today for a free consultation at 512-454-1331.