Can I Be Awarded Punitive Damages After a Semi-Truck Accident?

truck accidents | October 27, 2023

Accidents involving semi-trucks can lead to significant injuries and extensive property damage for a victim. Often, these victims are able to recover compensation for their losses through an insurance settlement or as a result of a personal injury lawsuit jury verdict. Usually, individuals are able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage expenses, and various types of pain and suffering damages.

In rare situations, punitive damages may also be available after a semi-truck accident. Here, we want to examine punitive damages and when they may be awarded after a truck accident in California.

Can I Be Awarded Punitive Damages After a Semi-Truck Accident?

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages, also referred to as exemplary damages, are not common in personal injury claims. However, they can provide valuable sources of compensation given the right circumstances surrounding the incident.

According to Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co. (1981), “The primary purposes of punitive damages are punishment and deterrence of like conduct by the wrongdoer and others.”

These damages are typically awarded in cases where there was intentional misconduct on the part of the at-fault party, meaning they had knowledge that their actions were more likely to result in injury or damage to another. Additionally, punitive damages can be awarded if the defendant was so reckless that they consciously disregarded the safety of others.

Will Punitive Damages Get Awarded for a Semi-Truck Accident Case?

We encourage you to speak to a skilled truck accident lawyer who has experience handling complex claims with questions about punitive damages. If you have an attorney, it is likely that they have already discussed compensatory damages, which include economic and non-economic damages. Compensatory damages cover things like medical bills, lost income, property damage expenses, and pain and suffering damages.

Recovering compensatory damages does not require showing that the at-fault party intentionally caused harm or recklessly disregarded the safety of others. That is only the requirement for punitive damages.

A Sacramento accident attorney will investigate every aspect of your claim and help make a determination of whether or not to ask for punitive damages as the case moves forward. If the truck driver or trucking company operated maliciously or committed willful misconduct or fraud, punitive damages may certainly be appropriate.

Talk to an Attorney Today

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident caused by the negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. Whether or not you receive punitive damages is secondary to recovering the compensation you need to move through this right now. You need to be made whole, and this means obtaining coverage of your medical bills, lost income, property damage expenses, and various out-of-pocket that arise as a result of the incident.

Please understand that there are time limits in place for filing these claims. In California, the personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means victims of commercial truck accidents have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. Failing to do so within this time frame will result in the inability to recover compensation. The case will be dismissed.