When Are Punitive Damages Available in Texas Car and Semi-truck Accident Cases?

Victims of car wreck and semi-truck accidents in Texas often ask what types of damages are available to them.  There are two general categories of damages that are available in car wreck and semi-truck accident cases in Texas.  Compensatory damages in a car wreck and semi-truck accident case may include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress damages.  Punitive damages, on the other hand, are damages above and beyond those actually sustained by the plaintiff.  Punitive damages in Texas are not intended to “compensate” the personal injury victim.  Instead, they are intended to punish the person or company that committed the wrongful act and deter others from engaging in similar wrongdoing.

In Texas, punitive damages are generally available if the trier-of-fact (i.e. the judge or the jury) finds that the plaintiff has proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with fraud, malice or gross negligence.  In Texas car wreck or semi-truck accidents, the plaintiff will often attempt to show that the defendant was grossly negligent.  Examples of behavior that might support a finding of gross negligence in Texas car wreck and semi-truck accident cases might include speeding while dangerously weaving in and out of traffic, driving while intoxicated, drag racing, hiring and/or retaining a semi-truck driver with a prior history of accidents.

If you or a family member were injured in a car wreck or semi-truck accident, a Texas personal injury attorney can evaluate whether punitive damages may be available in your car wreck or semi-truck accident case.

About the author: While my office is located in Fort Worth, I am admitted to practice in every state and federal court in Texas, and I am able to handle car accident, semi-truck accident, wrongful death and other personal injury cases in Dallas, Fort Worth, Burleson, Denton, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Houston, Waco, Austin, San Antonio, and across Texas.  For a free evaluation of your legal matter, call me at 817.908.9861 or fill out the contact form.