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Can I Get Punitive Damages in My Personal Injury Case?

When you or a loved one is injured due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries from the negligent party.

Typical damages include compensation for medical bills, lost income, hospital costs, and pain and suffering.

In some cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages in a personal injury action. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer, or the defendant, from his or her bad behavior in causing your injuries. Punitive damages also are meant to send a message to others in order to deter them from similar behavior.

However, Wisconsin law limits the availability of punitive damages for injured persons in personal injury cases. You only are eligible for punitive damages if you can provide evidence that the defendant acted maliciously or with intentional disregard of the injured party’s rights. When you are seeking punitive damages, you also may want to provide evidence about the defendant’s financial means or ability to pay punitive damages.

A judge or jury makes a decision about whether to award punitive damages separately from the rest of your personal injury claim. If the court does decide to award punitive damages, the amount of those damages cannot be more than double the amount of compensatory damages or $200,000, whichever is greater.

However, these limits may not apply in certain types of drunk driving cases. When you or a family member suffers serious injuries from a slip and fall or any other type of accident, and another’s negligence caused the accident, you may have a personal injury claim under Wisconsin law.

Whether or not you are entitled to punitive damages is a fact-specific inquiry that only an experienced personal injury attorney can determine.

Meeting with a personal injury lawyer is the first step toward getting the compensation that you deserve for the injuries that you have suffered.

If you have questions about personal injury cases, check out our commonly asked questions post here. You can also call Boller & Vaughan at (608) 268-0268, or contact us online in order to set up an appointment with one of our Madison personal injury attorneys, and see what we can do for you.