When you sue for damages in a personal injury case, it’s usually compensatory damages that are on the table. These “compensate” you for what you have experienced. Sometimes you can sue for another type of damages though, punitive damages. These could drastically increase the amount of money you are awarded, but it’s actually rare to see a case where a plaintiff can push for these types of damages. A Corpus Christi, Texas truck accident lawyer from our firm can tell you whether or not they will be an option in your lawsuit.

When Can I Be Awarded Punitive Damages?

In most personal injury cases, a defendant just needs to be negligent. You have to show that they caused or contributed to the accident that caused your injuries in some way. Then you can receive compensatory damages.

Punitive damages are different. To win these, you must show that the defendant’s behavior was particularly dangerous or malicious. Good examples of this include a drunk driver who causes serious injuries or a company that does not recall a product despite knowing that its defects can cause harm. These damages are not meant to reimburse you, the plaintiff. They are meant to punish the defendant and tell others that this kind of behavior is not tolerated.

What Are the Types of Compensatory Damages?

There are two broad categories of compensatory damages, and they can affect how much you can take home in punitive damages. You have:

Economic damages: These reimburse you for the costs of the accident, like medical expenses and lost wages.

Non-economic damages: These are designed to make up for the psychological trauma experienced during the accident and the pain and suffering experienced during your recovery and afterward.

Is There a Cap on Punitive Damages in Texas?

These types of damages can add a lot of money to a verdict in any kind of personal injury case. There are limits though. Texas caps punitive damages at twice the economic damages plus non-economic damages up to $750,000.

So if you won $1,000,000 in economic damages and $1,000,000 in non-economic damages, you would get $2,000,000 plus $750,000 at the most. In cases where damages are relatively low, punitive damages can be capped at $200,000.

Can I Win Punitive Damages Without Winning Compensatory Damages?

No. You must win compensatory damages in order to win punitive damages. There is no way to be awarded these types of damages if you are not also being compensated for things like medical expenses, pain and suffering, or loss of earning potential.

Schedule a Free Consultation

So if you have a personal injury case to pursue, contact Sahadi Legal Group. We can schedule a free consultation and help you explore your legal options. If we think that punitive damages are on the table, we’ll help you fight for them.