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Can I win exemplary damages in my car crash case?

by | Nov 3, 2017 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Depending on the details of your case in Texas, it is possible to win exemplary damages in your personal injury case. As noted by section 41.003 of the Texas Civil Damages and Remedies Code, exemplary damages are the kind awarded in court to punish the defendant for bad behavior.

As such, you do not need to prove that you suffered a more severe injury to justify the extent of exemplary damages you seek. 

You do not need to prove lost wages or income 

You also need not prove that you are out any money or expenses to get exemplary damages. You do not need to establish that you were unable to work and lost income, or that you had out-of-pocket medical expenses. You only need to prove that loss of income if you suffered such economic damages as a result of the defendant driver’s ordinary negligence and want compensation for that. 

You must prove defendant’s bad behavior 

However, you do have to prove that the other driver caused the harm to you that you are otherwise suing for by acting with gross negligence, malicious intent. Plain, ordinary negligence is not enough.

You need clear and convincing evidence

Unlike some other forms of damage which require a level of proof that rises to beyond a preponderance of the evidence, you need to have stronger proofs to succeed in the claim for exemplary damages. You need to prove the motor vehicle operator’s bad behavior by clear and convincing evidence.

Thus, even if you can prove the defendant’s action was negligent that will not suffice to proof gross negligence.

Your jury must be unanimous

Lastly, you cannot receive exemplary damages on top of your regular damages for personal injury unless the jury unanimously found the other driver liable for the exemplary damages an unanimously agrees on the appropriate amount. A unanimous decision is not necessary for your regular personal injury damages, but are when it comes to exemplary damages.