In civil law, most damages for an injury come from the costs incurred by the plaintiff. Medical bills, transportation costs, property damage, even noneconomic damages like pain and suffering, are all based on compensating the harm the plaintiff has endured. Punitive damages, however, are the exception.
Unlike the rest of the other damages mentioned, punitive damages have a single purpose: punish the defendant for the actions that led to harm. The punitive award is usually designed to be large enough to compel the defendant to never commit the same negligence a second time. As a result, punitive damages usually lead to much larger awards than the average personal injury claim. Louisiana caps punitive damages at ten times the size of the compensatory damages.
The Standard for Louisiana Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are normally barred in Louisiana unless the plaintiff can prove that his or her harm wasn’t only due to simple negligence. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant was being reckless, malicious, willful, or wanton in their actions, which is a higher legal standard.
Wrongful death cases that call for punitive damages include:
- Drunk driving accidents
- Sexual assault of a minor
- Fatal domestic violence
If your attorney can prove that the defendant knowingly put your loved one’s life or health at risk, then you may be able to bring punitive damages to ensure that it never happens again. In that sense, punitive damages offer a form of justice that most personal injury cases cannot offer.
How Long Do You Have to File?
If you want to hold the people at fault for your loved one’s death accountable in court, you have a year from the day of their passing. In legal terms, that’s not a long time. To get started, speak with a New Orleans wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Attorney Tony Clayton has won some of the largest injury and wrongful death results in Louisiana history. For our firm, your life and your loved one’s life both deserve real justice—the kind of justice you can only get with a trial attorney. Call us today to get a free consultation where we can discuss your legal options.
Call (504) 608-3211 or use a short online form to reach us today.