Unexpected car wrecks and injuries can be devastating to the victim. Oftentimes, they can result in significant physical, emotional, and financial harm. In Rock Hill, South Carolina, victims of car accidents may be entitled to compensation for a multitude of things including lost wages, medical expenses, damages, and pain and suffering.
As personal injury attorneys in Rock Hill, South Carolina, the team at David W. Martin Law Group understands the impacts that you face after an injury. We are here to help you through the process of a car accident in Rock Hill, South Carolina, or any surrounding areas.
Depending upon the facts of the case, our personal injury attorneys in Rock Hill will also determine whether punitive damages should be award to the victim. Punitive damages are considered compensation to the victim and are intended to punish the person who did something that made it worse and encourage them from doing the same behavior in the future. In South Carolina, punitive damages may be awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was willful, wanton, or reckless. This means that the defendant’s actions were not simply negligent but were so extreme that they exhibited a conscious disregard for the safety and well-being of others.
Punitive damages are granted on top of compensatory damages, which are designed to repay the victim for their losses. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter them and others from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
Examples of conduct that may warrant punitive damages in a car accident case include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Engaging in reckless driving, such as speeding or
- Running red lights
- Texting or using a cellphone while driving
- Intentionally causing a car accident
The number of punitive damages awarded in a car accident case in South Carolina is determined by the jury and is based on several factors, including the severity of the defendant’s conduct and the harm suffered by the victim. It’s important to note that punitive damages are not available in all car accident cases, and their award is at the discretion of the court.
In addition to being designed to punish the offender and stop similar behavior in the future, punitive damages can also provide a sense of justice and closure for the victim and their family. This can be challenging, as it requires a higher standard of proof than negligence. To establish willful, wanton, or reckless conduct, the plaintiff must show that the defendant knew or should have known that their actions would likely cause harm to others.
For example, if a driver was texting while driving and caused an accident that resulted in significant injuries to the victim, the victim may be able to establish that the driver’s conduct was willful, wanton, or reckless. This is because the driver knew or should have known that texting while driving is dangerous and could result in an accident.
If the plaintiff can establish that the defendant’s conduct was willful, wanton, or reckless, the jury may award punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. Compensatory damages were created to compensate the victim for their losses, while punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the time ahead.
In South Carolina, there is a cap amount on how much punitive damages can be awarded. The maximum number of punitive damages that can be awarded is three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $500,000, whichever is greater. This means that if the compensatory damages awarded in a car accident case are $100,000, the maximum number of punitive damages that can be awarded is $300,000.
If you have been involved in a car accident in South Carolina and believe that punitive damages may be warranted, it’s important to consult with an experienced car accident attorney in Rock Hill. An attorney can help you gather the evidence needed to support your case and ensure that your legal rights are protected.
At David W. Martin Law Group, our Rock Hill personal injury lawyers have the experience and knowledge needed to handle even the most complex car accident cases. We are committed to providing personalized and compassionate representation to our clients and fighting for the maximum compensation they deserve.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in South Carolina, contact David W. Martin Law Group today to schedule a free consultation. We are here for you. Your life is our priority, and we want to ensure that your legal rights are protected.