If you were hurt in a motorcycle wreck caused by a negligent driver in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas, you can seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While compensatory damages aim to reimburse your losses, you can be awarded punitive damages in rare cases to punish the at-fault party for their egregious behavior. An experienced Norfolk motorcycle accident attorney can fight with the at-fault driver's insurance company so that you receive the damages you deserve under Virginia law.
What Are Punitive Damages and When Are They Awarded?
Punitive damages are compensation paid to the victim of a motorcycle accident in addition to compensatory damages. They are awarded if the negligent driver acted maliciously or in willful and wanton disregard for others' safety when causing a motorcycle collision.
Punitive damages are not typically awarded in motorcycle accident cases, as they require specific circumstances and evidence of extreme behavior. Here are the purposes of punitive damages:
- Punish the motorist. One purpose is to punish the driver, not compensate the victim.
- Deterrence. Another goal of these damages is to stop the at-fault driver and others from engaging in these dangerous driving practices in the future.
When Can Punitive Damages Be Awarded in Drunk Driving Motorcycle Crashes?
In collisions involving drunk driving, punitive damages may be more likely to be awarded to motorcycle accident victims. However, certain conditions must be established to seek punitive damages in such cases:Intoxication. The at-fault driver must have been intoxicated during the accident, and their blood alcohol content (BAC) must have been 0.15 percent or higher.
- Knowledge of impairment. The drunk driver must have known or should have known that their alcohol consumption impaired their driving abilities.
- Causal connection. A motorcycle accident victim must prove that there is a clear causal connection between the drunk driver's intoxication and their injuries.