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What are Punitive Damages?

Most people are familiar with the idea that a personal injury victim can sue for damages when someone else’s negligence or wrongful action caused their injury. A personal injury lawyer in Tucson can investigate the circumstances surrounding your injury and consult you about taking legal action.

The State Bar of Arizona explains that you can pursue damages for past and future medical expenses, along with past and future lost wages. You can also collect compensation for pain and suffering experienced and for the future pain and suffering you expect to experience as a result of the injury. Pain and suffering is a non-economic damage, and arriving at damages figures are often less straightforward and more subjective than medical expenses and lost earnings. In rare instances, there is another type of damages that personal injury attorneys can pursue, called punitive damages. Courts only award punitive damages in selective cases, where the defendant’s actions are so egregious that the court wants to make an example of the case and deter others from similar future actions.

An example of a case where the court ruled on punitive damages is the Arizona case Rawlings v. Apodaca. In this case, the court ruled that punitive damages required an evil intent or an intention that willfully, wantonly and deliberately disregarded the interests of others. Negligence or inadvertent actions were not sufficient for a punitive award. The court explained that it should reserve punitive damages for cases where wrongful conduct was guided by evil motives.

If you suffer a personal injury, a Tucson accident attorney can investigate and determine what types of damages the law entitles you to receive.

Steven C. Weinstein has extensive experience protecting injury victims’ rights in personal injury cases.

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