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What Are Punitive Damages in a Lawsuit?

If a person who exhibited reckless or extremely negligent behavior at the time of an accident has injured you, you may be eligible for punitive damages as part of your overall recovery settlement. Punitive damages refer to damages required beyond that of compensatory damages, and are intended as punitive to the party at fault.

Punitive damages are only settled on and awarded in cases where reckless or negligent behavior occurred. They are conferred in addition to all other damages and are intended as a specific punishment and deterrent for a particularly reckless defendant. Part of the purpose of punitive damages is to decrease recidivism of the defendant.

Recovering punitive damages often increases the total settlement amount for the plaintiff. It is important to note that punitive damages are not applicable to every personal injury case. If reckless or willfully destructive behavior did not occur, the case is likely limited to compensatory damages. If you have recently been affected by an injury in Utah and need an Ogden personal injury lawyer, contact Feller & Wendt, LLC today for a free consultation.

Examples of Cases That May Award Punitive Damages

Not all instances of personal injury are applicable to punitive damage settlements. Typically, a severe form of negligence or recklessness must directly impact the accident that resulted in injury. There are several general instances in which this would be the case:

  • Incurring an injury in a car accident where the driver is speeding 30 or more miles per hour over the speed limit.
  • Incurring an injury as a result of another person recklessly using a firearm in public.
  • Sustaining an injury as a result of any extremely reckless or careless behavior of another person.
  • Sustaining an injury as a result of an individual “joy riding” or carelessly driving for the sake of entertainment.

Punitive damages differ from compensatory damages because they are not based on a concrete amount that needs to be reimbursed (such as medical bills or damage to property). Rather, because they are a specific punishment and deterrent for the individual who committed the act of recklessness, the amount will be subject to a judge’s discretion. Therefore, the amount of money awarded by punitive settlements may vary significantly depending on the circumstances of a particular case. Compensatory settlements are most often still awarded even when punitive damages are not.

If punitive damages pertain to your case, your attorney can work on your behalf to recover both types of damages. An accident lawyer can help you assess the circumstances of your case and whether careless or reckless behavior played a part. Sometimes this assessment is quite obvious, while in many cases it requires a more in-depth investigation.

Why Trust Feller & Wendt, LLC with Your Personal Injury Claim

At Feller & Wendt, LLC, we specialize in settling personal injury cases. Here are just a few reasons why you should hire us to handle your injury case:

  • The attorneys at Feller & Wendt, LLC have a combined 30 years experience in personal injury law.
  • Our firm has recovered millions of dollars in settlements for clients to date.
  • The attorneys work on a contingency basis, free of up-front client cost.
  • Feller & Wendt, LLC has a 95% track record of successfully settling personal injury cases.
  • The attorneys conveniently serve individuals in Layton, Salt Lake City, and St. George, Utah.

If you believe you have a case for both compensatory and punitive damages due to personal injury, an attorney can help. Feller & Wendt, LLC has proudly served the areas of Layton, Salt Lake City, and St. George, Utah. Contact us to find out if your case is applicable for a punitive damages settlement. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless and until we secure compensation. Schedule an appointment for a free consultation online today.