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Punitive Damages in Truck Litigation: Was There Gross Negligence or Intentional Misconduct?

August 4, 2015 | Category: Truck Accidents | Share

Trucking accidents are often very serious incidents that can leave the individuals involved with lifelong injuries that will likely require extensive medical attention and ongoing treatment. For the families facing the uphill battle of recovery with their injured loved ones, the thought of mounting medical expenses can be extremely troublesome.

Ft. Myers personal injury lawyer Randall Spivey and his team wants you and your loved ones to know that you have rights and options under the law. Truck drivers who are found to be responsible for the accident that led to an individual’s injuries can be made to provide compensation that can cover those huge medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

But depending on the severity of the accident, some individuals and their loved ones may wonder if they are entitled to receive more for all they’ve had to endure because of trucker’s wrongdoing. The following information discusses punitive damages and what will need to be shown when attempting to obtain them from a trucking company.

What are Punitive Damages?
Simply put, punitive damages are typically granted in an effort to punish an at-fault person or entity for outrageous conduct that led to an accident. The hope with awarding such damages is that the individual or company will think twice in the future before performing similar or the same conduct in the future.

However, as many attorneys have come to realize, imposing punitive damages against trucking companies requires great skill and legal know-how. That being the case, injured individuals are encouraged to seek legal assistance from an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.

Considerations When Seeking Punitive Damages Against a Trucking Company
Lawyers who handle truck accident cases on a routine basis know that requests for punitive damages are primarily fact driven and require injured parties to jump through a number of procedural hoops. Still, the effort is often well worth it due to the severity of the injuries sustained and the overall egregious nature of the accident. Accordingly, any attorney handling such case must know the intricacies of Florida law to make the possibility of obtaining punitive damages a reality for his or her client.

Section 768.72(2), Florida’s Statutes allows for punitive damages, but only in cases where the evidence is clear and convincing that an individual was grossly negligent or committed intentional misconduct. More specifically, a harmed individual who is seeking such damages from a trucking company must demonstrate that the trucking company knowingly and actively took part in the punitive conduct and the company’s directors, managers or officers knowingly consented to and/or condoned the conduct at issue or the company took part in conduct that amounted to gross negligence and contributed to the injuries or damages sustained by the harmed individual.

That said, there are a number of factors to be considered when looking at the possibility of a punitive damages claim. For instance, an attorney handling the case will want to know whether or not the truck driver had an unsafe driving record that the company knew (or should have known) about. Also, did the trucking company’s practices lead to incentivized violations or fatigued driving beyond the hours provided for by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations?

Depending on the answers to the above questions and others that will need to be addressed, pursuing punitive damages may, in fact, be feasible. If you or someone you love has been harmed in a trucking accident and you are interested in exploring your legal options, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. as soon as possible.

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