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Understanding Punitive Damages

Punitive Damages in Arizona Personal Injury Cases

Skilled Phoenix Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help

Understanding Punitive Damages if you have been injured in a serious motor vehicle accident?  Arizona law may entitle you to compensatory damages and, depending on the nature and severity of the defendant’s misconduct, potentially punitive damages.

Punitive damages are generally awarded as a multiple of the compensatory damages amount.  Therefore, if you have a claim that could potentially qualify you for punitive damages, it is critical that you contact an experienced team of Phoenix accident lawyers early on so that you will receive the appropriate legal guidance.

Let’s take a closer look.

Understanding Compensatory and Punitive Damages

Compensatory damages are the “standard” category of damages available to injured plaintiffs in most personal injury litigation. Such damages are meant to account for the various losses sustained by the plaintiff due to the misconduct of the defendant.  Ultimately, it is an attempt to put the plaintiff in a position (financially) that appropriately compensates them and somewhat approximates their position prior to the accident at issue.

By contrast, punitive damages are not meant to be a compensation mechanism. Instead, punitive damages are awarded as a means of “punishing” the defendant for engaging in particularly egregious misconduct and to act as a form of deterrence to prevent others from engaging in similar misconduct.  As punitive damages are not compensatory, they are not fundamental to recovery. Judges have significant discretion in awarding such damages.  Even if the defendant has engaged in egregious misconduct, there is no guarantee of punitive damages and, in fact, they are infrequently awarded.

Eligibility for Punitive Damages Recovery in Arizona

In Arizona, punitive damages are available if you can show that the defendant acted with an evil hand and an evil mind. Simply put, you have to be able to show that the defendant either engaged in intentional misconduct that demonstrated a willful disregard for the health and safety of others (i.e., knew that their conduct would likely cause injury), or misconduct that is particularly outrageous/egregious. In other words, mere negligence is insufficient to qualify for punitive damages.

Contact Our Phoenix Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation

The team of attorneys at Hirsch & Lyon boast decades of experience working with injured plaintiffs in a range of motor vehicle or motorcycle accident disputes, including those that are egregious and potentially qualify for punitive damages.

Ready to speak to an experienced Phoenix accident attorney at Hirsch & Lyon?  Call us at 602-535-1900 or complete an intake form through our website to request a free and confidential consultation today.

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