Filing for punitive damages in a personal injury case can enable an injured individual to obtain more compensation than would otherwise be possible. Depending on your case, filing for punitive damages may help you receive the financial support you need to live a happy, healthy life post-injury - which is why it's the topic of today's blog.
At Smith Law Offices, we'll work with you to find the best path forward in your personal injury case. To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (636) 400-1177.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Essentially, punitive damages enable a plaintiff in a personal injury case (the injured party) to request more compensation than they are technically eligible to receive for their personal injury case.
Depending on how at-fault a court determines a plaintiff is for an injury, plaintiffs can often file for compensation that covers medical expenses for the injury, lost wages as a result of the injury, and future expenses needed to care for the injury.
However, if the plaintiff can prove by "clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others," they may be able to file for punitive damages to receive additional compensation as a result of the defendant's excessive negligence or reckless behavior.
How Do Punitive Damages Work in MO?
Plaintiffs can file for anywhere between $50,000 and $500,000 in punitive damages, depending on the case's circumstances. For example, if a plaintiff files a personal injury case against a former employer with more than five but fewer than 100 employees, they can only claim up to $50,000 in punitive damages. However, if the employer has more than 500 employees, punitive damages can go up to $500,000.
Thanks to recent legislature passed in 2020, personal injury plaintiffs can no longer enter a claim for punitive damages in their initial pleading. Instead, they must first seek leave of court before filing a claim for punitive damages. The legislature also raised standards for punitive damages, potentially making it harder for injured parties to receive them at all.
At Smith Law Offices, we'll work with you to find the best path forward in your personal injury case and can help you file for punitive damages if necessary.
To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (636) 400-1177.