When it comes to punitive damages, determining whether a case qualifies for these damages following an accident or what these damages entail can be quite challenging. That is why we have prepared the following guide to help clear up some of the uncertainties regarding these damages. In the post below, we will go over what you need to know about punitive damages in Georgia and review some of the frequently asked questions personal injury victims have regarding these damages.
What Exactly Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are damages awarded by the court to punish the wrongdoer for their outrageous conduct and to deter them and others from engaging in this similar conduct. In comparison, compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the victim for the losses and injuries they endured after an accident.
Are Punitive Damages Available Following Every Personal Injury Case in Georgia?
Punitive damages are not available in every personal injury case. In truth, the court rarely awards these damages due to their high standard of proof that requires showing the defendant’s conduct was incredibly reckless or malicious.
When Are Punitive Damages Available?
According to Georgia’s laws, punitive damages are only awarded when the plaintiff shows through clear and convincing evidence that the wrongful party’s actions showed malice, fraud, oppression, wantonness, or willful misconduct. The court may also award these damages when the defendant’s actions show a conscious indifference to the consequences.
When Are Punitive Damages Typically Awarded in Georgia?
While punitive damages can be imposed in several situations, in Georgia, some examples of cases that qualify for punitive damages include the following:
- Medical malpractice cases
- Product liability cases
- Nursing home abuse
- Drunk driving
- Drugged driving if the substance used was illegal
- Sexual assault
- Assault and battery
Are There Caps on Punitive Damages in Georgia?
Per the state’s regulations, punitive damages are capped at $250,000. Consequently, no matter what the jury awards in punitive damages, the wrongful party will not have to pay more than $250,000.
However, there are two exceptions to this rule. In Georgia, if the defendant acts with either:
- The specific intent to cause harm or
- While under the influence of certain types of alcohol and drugs
There will be no caps on punitive damages. Furthermore, these caps also do not apply to product liability cases.
To Learn More About Punitive Damages in Georgia, Contact an Experienced Georgia Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you want to know more about punitive damages or whether they apply to your case, consider speaking to an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney. At Richard D. Hobbs & Associates, P.C., our skilled legal team can review your concerns and questions regarding punitive damages, determine whether you can pursue these damages after an accident, and help you go after the financial relief and justice you deserve.
For more information about punitive damages, contact us today or call us at 678-737-2457 to schedule a free case consultation with our legal team.