If you are in a car accident because someone was paying more attention to their phone than to the road you may be entitled to damages. There are two types of damages that may be awarded. First are compensatory damages, which include financial relief for medical bills, wages lost, pain and suffering, rehabilitation services, costs associated with education, custodial care, loss of earnings and earning capacity, loss of income, burial costs, loss of use of property, costs of repair or replacement of property, costs of obtaining substitute domestic services, a claim for loss of spousal services, loss of employment, loss of business or employment opportunities, loss of retirement income, and other monetary losses. Second, are punitive damages, which are designed to punish and deter reckless and harmful behavior.
Punitive damages are only awarded in special circumstances and only in a small fraction of car accident cases. For an injured party to be entitled to punitive damages, the behavior of the at fault driver must be examined. The injured driver must prove by clear and convincing evidence that his injuries and other damages are a result of the at fault driver’s wilful, wanton, or reckless conduct. Texting while driving is against the law in South Carolina and can be presented to the jury as reckless conduct.
In determining the amount of punitive damages, the jury may consider all relevant evidence, including, but not limited to:
(1) The defendant’s degree of culpability;
(2) the severity of the harm caused by the defendant;
(3) the extent to which the plaintiff’s own conduct contributed to the harm;
(4) the duration of the conduct, the defendant’s awareness, and any concealment by the defendant;
(5) the existence of similar past conduct;
(6) the profitability of the conduct to the defendant;
(7) the defendant’s ability to pay;
(8) the likelihood the award will deter the defendant or others from like conduct;
(9) the awards of punitive damages against the defendant in any state or federal court action alleging harm from the same act or course of conduct complained of by the plaintiff;
(10) any criminal penalties imposed on the defendant as a result of the same act or course of conduct complained of by the plaintiff; and
(11) the amount of any civil fines assessed against the defendant as a result of the same act or course of conduct complained of by the plaintiff.
If you have questions about your car accident or any other questions about your legal rights, please contact Venus Poe today at 864-963-0310 or click here to fill out an online case evaluation form. We have offices in Greenville, South Carolina and Fountain Inn, South Carolina to better serve you across South Carolina. There is no obligation or charge for our initial consultation to see if we can help you with your car accident claim