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Punitive Damages in Tennessee Car Accident Cases

Determining whether someone should receive punitive damages in a Tennessee car accident case depends on what caused the accident. An attorney will attempt to discover whether or not the accident was intentional.

That intentionality can play on whether that person purposefully caused the accident. Usually, the individual acted in a way that was reckless, such as racing or drinking and driving. When a jury finds out that that had occurred, they will usually award punitive damages. To better understand how punitive damages may apply to your Tennessee car accident case, it is imperative to get in contact with a car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Awarding Punitive Damages

It is rare that juries will award punitive damages in Tennessee car accident cases. This is because most accidents are simply that, accidents.

However, approximately 20% of cases may have components that may be punitive, and that is for somebody who was acting recklessly. That number may climb a bit as people get more frustrated with accidents relating to distracted driving.

Cellphones account for a much higher percentage of accidents now than they used to, so it is important that an individual is sufficiently penalized to curb such behavior in the future.

Influential Factors

The reckless or criminal-based actions of the defendant and how severe the damages were can influence the award of punitive damages in Tennessee car accident cases.

For instance, a client who suffered from paralysis or had some permanent disability, major surgery, death, or brain damage will often anger a jury. This is because the jury can relate very well to the individual injured.

If there is somebody that acted criminally and there is a family or a person who was harmed for it, those factors are all going to impact and influence an award of punitive damages after a Tennessee car accident.

Benefit of an Attorney

The difference in the way an attorney handles punitive damage cases as opposed to a regular case will be that there will be the additional component of discovering any criminal behavior and whether it is a repeat act.

For instance, if the client is hit by a drunk driver, an attorney will dig deeper into that person’s criminal past to see if they have had prior accidents or had been convicted of other crimes.

It is also going to involve a much bigger investigation into that person’s financial well-being. When a lawyer is looking for a punitive damage award, a lawyer will want to be able to show, for instance, if it was a trucking company, that they may have been encouraging their people to drive beyond their limitation of hours so they could move more product and make more money. A lawyer will be able to bring all of that information in when awarding punitive damages in Tennessee car accident cases.

In this case, a lawyer will gather all of the company’s financial information because a jury needs to understand that there may have been a profit motive tied to the car accident. They will attempt to prove that if the company was not greedy, that the accident would not have happened at all. All of this financial information is critical when attempting to determine the punitive damages an individual should be awarded in a Tennessee car accident case.

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