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Can You Get Punitive Damages After a Truck Accident in Orlando?

— March 30, 2022

According to legal experts, more and more jurisdictions are trying to limit punitive damage awards viewed as over-the-top and as outrageous as the behavior they’re trying to punish.

Punitive damages are awarded in lawsuits to punish companies and individuals who have a history of ignoring safety practices, failing to keep their fleets or trucks well-maintained, or simply using egregious carelessness. According to the information posted by officials and governmental agencies, Florida has about 400,431 vehicle crashes each year. Many involve trucks or drivers trying to avoid trucks on the state’s congested highways.

Multimillion-Dollar Judgments are Common Punitive Damages

You often read about multimillion-dollar settlements in truck accident lawsuits, and that usually happens when juries or judges want to punish a trucking company for egregious behavior. The punitive damages are awarded because the company’s negligence was outrageous. According to official sources, a perfect example was the death of a teenager near Jacksonville. A truck rollover caused the death.

The trucking company was AJD Business Services, Inc., and the driver didn’t have a commercial license. The driver was also blameworthy for getting distracted by his cellphone and exceeding the number of hours driving without a break. The lawsuit also named Canadian company Kahkashan Carrier, Inc., partly responsible. The company’s driver crashed into a line of stopped cars doing 70 mph on cruise control.

The Canadian company driver only attempted to stop seconds before the crash. These multiple examples of egregious behavior resulted in an award of $1 billion, which broke the record for a punitive judgment.

The victim’s family was awarded $86 million in compensatory damages from Kahkashan Carrier and $16 million to the teenage boy’s mother from AJD Business Services. An additional $900 million was awarded to the mother in punitive damages assessed against AJD Business Services.

Examples of Types of Compensation

Deadly Synthetic 'ISO' Implicated in At Least 19 U.S. Deaths
Photo by Gabriel on Unsplash

In any lawsuit, compensation is awarded in multiple categories. These refer to both economic and non-economic damages that include the following: 

  • Medical Bills
    These include all of the victim’s medical bills and estimated future bills fr treatments and rehabilitation.
  • Lost Wages
    If you cannot work because of truck accident injuries, you can claim compensation for current lost wages and lost wages in the future, which is based on your projected recovery time.
  • Funeral and Burial Expenses
    Funeral and burial expenses are compensable in wrongful death cases.
  • Property Damage
    This compensation covers your vehicle, its contents, and any external property damage.
  • Miscellaneous Expenses
    Miscellaneous expenses include transportation to doctor’s appointments, assistive medical devices, and remodeling work to accommodate an injury victim.
  • Pain and Suffering
    This is the most common type of non-economic damage.
  • Mental Anguish
    Mental pain can be just as debilitating as physical injuries.
  • Losses of Companionship and Consortium
    These losses are often caused by physical injuries that prevent normal social and sexual activities.
  • Permanent Scarring and Disfigurement
    This compensation is provided for those suffering from scars and disfigurement.
  • Punitive Damages
    Punitive damages are often awarded to punish defendants for outrageous conduct, willful negligence, deliberate injuries, and medical malpractice. Punitive damages usually involve multimillion-dollar awards to punish outrageous behavior.

Limits on Punitive Damages

According to legal experts, more and more jurisdictions are trying to limit punitive damage awards viewed as over-the-top and as outrageous as the behavior they’re trying to punish. However, Florida limits medical malpractice awards to $1 or $1.5 million in punitive damages. There are no limits for non-medical punitive damages. Contact an Orlando truck accident lawyer to file a lawsuit or defend against one if you seek economic, non-economic, or punitive damages against one or more liable parties in a truck accident. An experienced local lawyer will let you know what to expect and what to do to strengthen your case. 

Hiring a Lawyer in Orlando

Orlando experiences many truck-related accidents, and commercial truck accidents tend to be far more dangerous than accidents between passenger cars. The weight and massive size of trucks increase the momentum in crashes with devastating results. Suppose you are injured in a truck accident or defend against accusations of liability for a truck-related accident. In that case, you should hire a local, experienced truck attorney immediately to safeguard your rights. 

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