Being hurt in an accident is a devastating and life changing experience. It is why many people seek to reach out to an experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney to verify that they have considered all potential aspects of recovering compensation. Some compensation may be a direct result of actual expenses you have incurred, such as medical costs and lost wages. However, those compensatory damages may not be all that you can recover in a lawsuit.
Punitive damages are not based directly on a plaintiff’s losses, but are rather intended to hold the defendant responsible for their conduct. Punitive damages can be awarded in your San Francisco personal injury claim in addition to compensatory damages. Plaintiffs are not always guaranteed to be awarded punitive damages in California, but California Civil Code 3294 allows trial courts to award punitive damages in certain personal injury cases.
They are to serve as an example to discourage future behavior and to punish people or companies who engage in particularly bad behavior. Clear and convincing evidence must be provided in order to argue that you are entitled to recover punitive damages. This requires that you must prove oppression, fraud or malice with a high degree of probability. You will need to first win the case and then a jury will determine whether or not the defendant is guilty of oppression, malice or fraud.
In order to discuss whether or not you may be eligible to pursue punitive damages in your San Francisco personal injury case, schedule a time to consult with an experienced and dedicated lawyer in this area of the law.