Many truck accidents are catastrophic and generate complicated personal injury claims from injured victims who seek compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. San Antonio truck accident lawyer Matthew S. Norris represents the injured victims of negligence in these cases. But what if the truck driver who injured you was not merely negligent but was in fact acting in an excessively reckless and dangerous manner?
After you are injured in a truck accident, if you and your attorney can present strong evidence that a truck driver was driving in an exceedingly dangerous manner and has consistently driven in that manner in the past, you may be able to seek punitive damages with a personal injury claim along with your compensation for medical bills and lost wages.
When a truck driver continues to engage in risky behavior, even with an awareness of the high risk he or she poses to others, that driver’s actions meet the legal definition of gross negligence, and that allows anyone injured by that driver to seek punitive damages with a personal injury claim.
How are Punitive Damages Handled in Texas?
Unlike compensatory damages which reimburse an injury victim for medical costs, lost wages, and personal pain and suffering, punitive damages are more about the negligent party (the “defendant”) than the injury victim “the plaintiff.”
Punitive damages are awarded to punish egregious wrongdoing and designed to deter such behavior in the future. Although compensation is not the reason for punitive damages, the injury victim receives any punitive damages in addition to his or her compensatory damages.
Punitive Damage Awards Have Been Upheld by Texas Courts
In 2016, a Texas court of appeals reviewed the Rayner v. Dillon case. In that case, a truck driver with a long history of keeping unreliable driving logs and driving recklessly struck a woman’s vehicle while he was changing lanes.
The woman sued both the truck driver and his employer for personal injury and punitive damages. The trial jury returned a verdict that included over $1,000,000 in punitive damages along with the substantial compensatory damages, and the appeals court upheld that verdict, confirming the importance of punitive damages.
Every driver has a legal “duty of care” to other drivers, their passengers, and pedestrians. An intentional breach of that duty of care constitutes gross negligence. In Rayner v. Dillon, the driver admitted he was aware of the risks of reckless and fatigued driving, and his employer was fully aware of his violations and continued to allow him to drive. Punitive damages were awarded to punish the defendant and his employer for their gross negligence.
How Will a Truck Accident Attorney Help You?
If you have been injured in a truck accident, San Antonio truck accident lawyer Matthew S. Norris will conduct an in-depth investigation of the accident, scrutinize the evidence, question any witnesses, and call expert witnesses if necessary. Your personal injury lawyer will explain your rights and the types and amounts of compensation you will be able to pursue. If your case qualifies for punitive damages, your attorney will fight hard for every dollar that you’re entitled to.
The Law Office of Matthew S. Norris has helped scores of injured Texas truck accident victims recover the compensation they deserve. Your first consultation with attorney Matthew S. Norris is offered with no cost or obligation, and our team is ready to work for you. To learn more, or to begin the personal injury process after a truck accident, call our San Antonio office now at 210-549-7633.