What Do You Need to Prove to Get Punitive Damages in Texas?
The purpose of punitive damages is to punish grossly negligent defendants and discourage such behavior in the future. Simply put, punitive damages can act as a warning to the public to comply with their duty to act with reasonable care.
Personal injury plaintiffs may obtain punitive damages in conjunction with payment for other economic and non-economic losses. However, recovering punitive damages can be a complex task. The guidance of our lawyers can be very helpful when seeking such damages in your case.
If you believe you have a valid claim for punitive damages in Texas, then you should contact our experienced Arlington personal injury lawyers today. Connect with our team at The Queenan Law Firm by calling (817) 476-1797 for a free review of your claim.
How to Prove That You Deserve Punitive Damages in Texas
In order to prove that you deserve punitive damages in Texas, you must show that you suffered an injury because of the defendant’s gross negligence. The following tests may be used to determine if gross negligence occurred in your case:
First, you may employ an objective test to determine whether the defendant in your case acted with gross negligence. To use the objective test, you must ask if someone in the defendant’s shoes would have been aware that their actions were likely to cause danger to others. Our Odessa, TX personal injury lawyers can help review whether the defendant’s actions constitute gross negligence under the objective test in your case.
Furthermore, a subjective test can be used to determine if gross negligence has occurred. If the defendant in your case knew of the risk associated with their improper conduct but followed through anyhow, then you may be able to recover punitive damages.
What is the Standard of Proof for Proving Gross Negligence in Texas?
As previously discussed, you must prove that the defendant acted with gross negligence in order to be awarded punitive damages in Texas. In order to establish that gross negligence has occurred, you must prove your point with clear and convincing evidence.
To prove something with clear and convincing evidence, you must show that there is a high probability that the factual contentions of your claim are true. Meeting this standard of proof can be difficult without the assistance of our Texas personal injury lawyers. Accordingly, if you are seeking to prove that a defendant acted with gross negligence, then you should contact our law firm as soon as possible. Our team will begin gathering evidence to support your claim right away.
Is There a Cap on Punitive Damages in Texas?
Texas has placed a cap on the amount of punitive damages that personal injury plaintiffs can recover. Punitive damages cannot exceed more than two times the amount of economic damages plus the amount equal to non-economic damages up to $750,000. Our experienced Houston personal injury attorneys can help explain the punitive damages cap and how it may apply to your claim.
What Factors Will Be Considered Before Awarding Punitive Damages in Texas?
There are multiple factors that juries may consider when assessing whether punitive damages should be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. For example, any of the following may be analyzed when evaluating a claim:
- The defendant’s wrongful behavior
- Character of the defendant’s wrongdoing
- The defendant’s degree of fault
- The sensibilities of concerned parties
- If the behavior at issue offends a public sense of decency
- The resources available to the defendant
Analyzing these factors within the context of your case can be a complex process. During your free case review, our Irving personal injury lawyers can help evaluate whether you should make a claim for punitive damages.
Examples of Negligent Actions that Warrant Punitive Damages in Texas
There are countless forms of grossly negligent behavior that may warrant claims for punitive damages. The following are examples of conduct that may constitute gross negligence in Texas:
- A shop owner disposed of hazardous waste in a park, knowing that there is a risk that local kids will suffer contamination
- A trucking company knowingly neglects to replace worn tires on their vehicles, leading to tire blowouts and severe accidents
- A drunk driver engages in drag racing on a public street
There are many other potential examples of gross negligence. If you are questioning whether punitive damages are warranted in your case, you should call our law firm as soon as possible.
Evidence Used to Support a Claim for Punitive Damages in Texas
There are multiple types of evidence that can be used to support a claim for punitive damages. The following are common forms of evidence utilized by our Texas personal injury lawyers:
Witnesses can offer both written and oral testimony that attests to defendants’ grossly negligent behavior. For example, an eyewitness may state that they saw a defendant motorist driving at excessive speeds while travelling the wrong way down a one-way road. In that case, the witness’s testimony could be used to support a claim for punitive damages.
Surveillance footage can also be used to recover punitive damages in personal injury lawsuits. However, this type of evidence may be hard to collect. Parties in control of relevant surveillance footage may not want to cooperate with plaintiffs. Therefore, the support of our Plano, TX personal injury lawyers may be helpful when seeking to recover copies of surveillance footage in your case.
Photos from the Scene of an Accident
Furthermore, photos from the scene of an accident may prove that a defendant acted with gross negligence should be responsible for punitive damages. Accordingly, if you suffered a personal injury, you should always take photos at the scene of your accident. Afterwards, our lawyers can help review the photos you took during a free case assessment.
If You Need to Make a Claim for Punitive Damages in Texas, Our Law Firm Can Help
If you suspect that you have a claim for punitive damages, seek support from our experienced Forth Worth personal injury lawyers by calling The Queenan Law Firm at (817) 476-1797 to review your case.