D'Amore Personal Injury Law, LLC

Punitive Damages in Truck Accident Cases

Trucking accident cases are some of the most devastating vehicular accidents. Trucks are massive vehicles that can inflict debilitating injuries on their victims. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, 5,005 people were killed in large truck crashes, and an estimated 159,000 people were injured.

A truck accident insurance claim can only help you so far. Insurance companies will want to settle and close the case with the lowest payout compensation available. Their goal is to maintain their balance sheet, not to help you and make you whole again.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, you need to contact a trucking accident law firm to seek fair truck accident compensation. They can analyze your case and determine how you can get compensation before your expenses become unmanageable.


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Types of Damages

Your truck accident lawyer will fight to get you the compensation you and your family need. All the money in the world will not make you whole again. But it can help get you to get your life back on track. The damages available in each case depend on the facts and circumstances. There is not a “one size fits all rule.”

There are three types of awardable damages available. They include:

  1. Economic Damages
  2. Non-economic Damages
  3. Punitive Damages

1. Economic Damages

Economic damages are easily quantifiable. Their goal is to return you to the situation you were in before the accident. They compensate victims for the accident’s financial losses and future losses caused by the event.

There is no cap on economic damages in the state of Maryland. They can be part of a settlement agreement or part of a court order. Typical economic damages include the following:

    • Lost wages from time off work because of the accident
    • Loss of future earnings if can no longer perform the job or are no longer eligible for a promotion because of the accident
    • Hospital bills
    • Bills for blood tests
    • Bills for scans and radiology reports
    • Doctor bills
    • Surgeries
    • Emergency room visits
    • Follow-up appointments
    • Physical and mental therapy
    • Prescription cost
    • Rehabilitation
    • Property damage

2. Non-Economic Damages

Unlike economic damages, noneconomic damages are not easily quantifiable in the sense economic damages are. They are subjective. Examples of noneconomic damages include the following:

    • Pain and suffering
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • Emotional trauma or distress
    • Loss of consortium and companionship

Noneconomic damages are more difficult to prove. How do you put a price on pain and suffering? Courts and juries view the whole picture of the victim’s situation, such as the loss of emotional support they provided to family or the permanence of the injuries they sustained, to determine the amount of noneconomic damages to award. Maryland law places a limit on the amount of non-economic damages that can be recovered. This amount is based on the time the accident occurred and the type of case. Generally, it is between $700,000 and $1.2Million.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are the third type of damages. They are also known as exemplary damages, and are meant to actually punish a wrongdoer for particularly egregious behavior. Therefore, it is extremely rare for punitive damages to be awarded.

What is the purpose of punitive damages?

Unlike economic and noneconomic damages, the purpose of punitive damages is not to help the injured person.  Punitive damages have two purposes. The first purpose is to punish the party responsible for the action and deter them from committing the same act again. The second purpose is to put others on notice of what happens when they act with intentional disregard for the safety of the community.  Punitive damages are meant to deter similar conduct by other community members.

What standard is needed for punitive damages?

In most accidents, victims only need to meet a negligence standard. But for punitive damages, victims must reach a much higher standard. Maryland state law mandates that a victim prove actual malice to prove a case for punitive damages.

Maryland courts have determined that punitive damages can only be awarded if there is evidence that the wrongdoer’s conduct was “conscious and deliberate wrongdoing, evil or wrongful motive, intent to injure, ill will, or fraud.” This is the actual malice standard.

This burden of proof for punitive damages must be proven by “clear and convincing evidence.” This means that you must prove that it is highly probable that the wrongdoer committed the accident with intent. It must be more accurate than untrue.

How much punitive damage compensation can be given?

The state of Maryland has no cap on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded to a victim. The award of punitive damages must be proportional to the act committed. It must also both punish the party responsible for the accident and deter others from committing the same acts in the future.

Contact a Maryland Truck Accident Lawyer Today

A truck accident is a horrendous experience. You or your family could be facing debilitating injuries and a loss in quality of life. The law office of D’Amore Personal Injury Law can assist you in making a recovery that will lessen the financial burden your family is facing.

Our caring and aggressive Maryland trucking accident lawyers will work meticulously to make sure you receive the fair compensation you deserve. They will collect evidence, deal with the insurance companies, discuss the case with the truck driver or the truck driver’s company, and represent you in court. 

Truck crash lawsuits can get complicated. You need an experienced team of attorneys to manage your case and get the maximum amount of recovery for you and your family. Remember, you don’t pay us unless we win your case. Contact the law office of D’Amore now for a free consultation!


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