When you are hurt in a Michigan accident, you may already be due compensatory damages, which cover the losses you have suffered. However, that may not feel like enough, especially if the at-fault party intentionally tried to harm you. You may believe that you are due more damages than what is directly compensated.
Punitive damages are available in many cases where the at-fault party acts with especially extreme negligence. However, these damages are not available in every case, and you may need a Michigan personal injury lawyer like those at White Law PLLC to get punitive damages in Michigan. Here is what you can expect if you believe you are due punitive damages.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are non-compensatory damages that are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from committing the same actions. These damages are reserved for cases where the at-fault party acted with malice or with extreme negligence. However, note that Michigan does not offer punitive damages in the same way many other states do.
For Michigan residents, you may instead be due exemplary damages. These damages are not meant to punish the wrongdoer but to allow those who have suffered serious damages and who may be due more compensation than what their compensatory damages cover. These more extreme situations include cases where a loved one has suffered a wrongful death or in certain product liability cases, such as the many lawsuits against cigarette companies.
These damages can be difficult to get, however. These damages are rarely awarded and may require special circumstances. Talk to your lawyer if you believe you are eligible for these damages.
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When Would a Judge Award Exemplary Damages?
Under what circumstances would a judge offer you these exemplary damages? Knowing when these are available is vital. Below are a few reasons you may have grounds for these damages:
- The judge decides your compensatory damages are not enough
- Punishment for wrongful actions
- Deterrent to similar conduct in the future
- Push for the defense to change their standards and practices
- Precedent for similar punishments for future actions like this
When seeking out exemplary or punitive damages, you may need to seek approval from the judge or your attorney may be able to request to have these damages awarded. While economic and non-economic damages are typically available, you will need specific approval from the judge to seek these damages. Because they are so rarely awarded, you need to know what to expect before you ever start.
Does Michigan Cap Punitive Damages?
In many states, punitive damages are capped at a certain amount. This cap prevents punitive damages from becoming overwhelming to the defense. For example, many states cap punitive damages for medical malpractice claims out of worries that medical professionals would be unable to practice in the state.
However, Michigan does not cap these damages. If you are hurt by another person and the judge determines that the compensation you receive for your other damages is insufficient, you may receive as much as the judge allows. That makes a big difference for families who are suffering due to the conduct of the at-fault party.
However, that does not make these punitive damages easy to obtain. You still need to seek approval from the judge to get these damages, and they are not rewarded lightly. However, you do still have the opportunity to seek these damages, and your attorney can help.
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Other Damages You May Seek
Punitive damages can provide much-needed support for those who have suffered serious injuries and losses because of an accident. However, they are not the only damages you are due, and understanding your compensatory damages can help you get the full coverage you need. Seeking these damages can help cover the many expenses you have for your recovery, which can make a huge difference in your life following the trial.
If you are worried you may not be eligible for punitive damages, you may still have grounds for compensatory damages. Your attorney has all the tools you need to calculate these damages, ensuring you get the funds you are due for your losses. Reach out to a lawyer for help calculating any and all of the following damages.
When you are seriously injured by another person’s conduct, you may be due economic damages that cover the losses you have suffered for their carelessness. For example, you may need economic damages to cover your medical bills, or you may need to replace your vehicle after an accident. These economic damages can get out of hand quickly, and you may find yourself overwhelmed by the bills that are accruing.
The good news is that your economic damages can simply be added up and included in your compensation. Your lawyer can also help you estimate the value of your future economic damages, such as surgeries that have been scheduled but not yet paid for. Talk to your attorney about the full scope of the economic loss you have suffered and how you can take action.
Your economic damages can cover the full scope of the financial losses you have suffered, but what about the non-financial losses? For example, your medical bills for your injuries may have been paid for, but what about the intangible suffering you have experienced because of your physical pain? In these cases, you may be due compensation for your non-economic damages.
These damages can be difficult to calculate fairly because they are intangible and do not have a set dollar amount like your economic damages do. You, instead will need to calculate these damages based on the severity of your injuries and the impact those injuries have had on your life. If you are struggling to do this, your attorney can guide you through this process and help you get the full compensation you are due.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
Need Help Getting Compensated? Reach Out to a Lawyer
While your compensatory damages are meant to actually compensate you for the suffering you have experienced, punitive damages can help you recover. Having that extra amount based on the malicious conduct of the defense can provide more support for your recovery. However, they can still be difficult to seek out.
That is where a lawyer at White Law PLLC comes in. Our attorneys offer support throughout the process of seeking compensation and are ready to get started with a free consultation. For a better idea of the full compensation you are due, reach out to an attorney by calling or filling out our convenient contact form.
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