When someone engages in an act that is reckless, and someone else suffers the consequences, it can be disheartening to know that they can go on with their life with few consequences. Punitive damages are sometimes awarded in these cases, and they aim to act as a deterrent for future engagement in such actions. Yet, there is a limit on punitive damages, and that could impact your claim even when working with an Atlanta personal injury lawyer.
The Georgia Supreme Court has confirmed that the cap on punitive damages is $250,000, which means that, even if a jury awards a higher amount, this is the maximum amount the party can be held to. At John Foy & Associates, we know it is hard to understand what the future holds in cases like this. However, we work tirelessly to ensure you receive fair compensation after these types of cases.
If you are the victim, set up a free consultation with our personal injury attorney to discuss your case.
Why Is There a Cap on Punitive Damages in Georgia?
After an accident occurs, you have the right to three types of compensation in some situations.
- Economic damages: These are losses easily determined based on your bills. For example, this may include the medical bills you have or the lost time at work.
- Non-economic damages: These damages are harder to pinpoint in terms of value, but they are still significant. They include pain and suffering claims, loss of quality of life, and loss of consortium, for example.
- Punitive damages: This type of damage is awarded by the court in situations where a person acted with significant negligence or carelessness or, in some way, acted intentionally, and that caused injury to others.
To be clear, in Georgia, there is no cap on the amount of economic and non-economic damages you can be awarded. However, in punitive measures, the cap of $250,000 applies.
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Are There Exclusions to This Rule?
There are some situations in which that cap is not in place. There are several exceptions to the cap in which you may be able to claim a higher level of compensation for your losses.
- The case relates to product liability. That is, the punitive damages are due to a product or service failure.
- The other party acted in some way that involved intent to cause harm to the victim.
- The plaintiff was impaired by alcohol or drugs (not legally prescribed drugs), and they intentionally used those drugs, resulting in serious impairment.
In these situations, there may be an opportunity to obtain a higher level of compensation for your losses. The court ultimately determines this based on the details and evidence in the case. Keep in mind that this is not always a given. In other words, there are many situations where you will need to prove that these damages should be awarded and why.
Do Drunk Driving Accidents Involve Punitive Damages in Georgia?
When a DUI accident occurs, a person may be responsible for the losses they cause another party. There are some instances in which punitive damages may be awarded in these cases.
If a person is under the influence and causes an accident, the court and jury may award punitive damages for the case. Keep in mind that even if a bar or other establishment was found to be liable for the individual’s DUI, that organization could not be held responsible for punitive damages above and beyond this limit. However, as the victim, you can still seek economic and non-economic damages for these losses.
Also notable, in DUI cases, you do not have to wait for a case to go to trial and for the individual to be found guilty before you can claim compensation for your losses. Even if a criminal act occurred, you can still seek compensation right away, including punitive damages in your case.
Are Punitive Damages Always Awarded in Georgia?
Punitive damages are not always awarded. It is nearly always dependent on the circumstances in the case, and that will be determined only after an investigation. When you work with our attorney, we can help you gain more insight into when they may be awarded and if your case may fall under one of those areas.
Under the state’s law, these damages are awarded in situations of willful misconduct, fraud, malice, wantonness, oppression, or other significant incidents. Some of the most common examples of deplorable conduct in which this type of award may be given include:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Driving under the influence
- Drugged driving with illegal substances in your system
- Nursing home abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Sex with a minor
- Felony assault
These cases are typically considered deplorable, meaning they are simply wrong. If you were the victim in these cases, we encourage you not to settle your claim too quickly nor to go to court without an attorney that can work to defend you against such claims. Our legal team is here to help you.
How We Will Help You with Punitive Damages
When you seek out help from our attorney, our first and primary goal will be to understand what occurred in your case. That includes gathering evidence on why it occurred.
Did the person act with malice? Were they completely aware of the risks they were taking and still took them?
When these types of incidents occur, it is critical to have evidence to substantiate your claims. We will work closely with you to ensure that this occurs. Our legal team can give you honest and transparent guidance on what to expect as you move your case forward, including how to show punitive damages should be awarded.
Call John Foy & Associates Today
Contact John Foy & Associates to discuss your case. Let us give you insight into punitive damages and whether the cap on them in Georgia applies to your case. We will then work closely with you to seek out compensation for your losses, fighting aggressively to protect your rights every step of the way.
Do not wait to get the legal guidance you need. Instead, contact us now to learn how we can help you and schedule a free consultation.