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Establishing liability, seeking damages after truck accident, P.2

Last time, we pointed out that different types of damages may be available in truck accident cases depending on the circumstances of the case related to the defendant’s breach of duty. Ordinarily, establishing the elements of tort liability in a motor vehicle accident case entitles a plaintiff to compensatory damages.

Such damages include things like medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The specific type and extent of compensatory damages depends on the circumstances of each case. When seeking compensatory damages, it is critical to work with an experienced attorney who knows how to accurately establish the costs involved. Failure to build a strong case can result in a plaintiff losing out on compensatory damages to which he or she may be entitled, or receiving less damages than he or she should fairly receive. 

Another category of damages that can come up in motor vehicle accident cases, including cases involving truck accidents, is punitive damages. While compensatory damages are aimed at compensating an accident victim for his or her losses and injuries, punitive damages have the aim of punishing the defendant for bad behavior and deterring others from acting in the same way.

Punitive damages are only awarded in certain types of cases, specifically when the defendant acted with willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression or reckless indifference. The exact meaning of these terms is best understood by examining case law dealing with the award of punitive damages, and so it is important to work with an experienced attorney who understands how to seek out such damages in motor vehicle accident cases.

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at the topic of punitive damages.

Source: Georgia Code, § 51-12-5.1—Punitive damages

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