Punitive Car Damage
LexInter | April 4, 2022 | 0 Comments

Punitive Car Damage

Car insurance is designed so that drivers involved in a crash can easily settle their dispute without getting the law involved. At-fault drivers prefer to keep it out of traffic court because the legal fees can be expensive for a case they ultimately can’t win. But the kind of damage your car caused can play a significant role in how you are penalized if you are at fault for a car accident. Punitive damages tend to result in the most severe penalties. This post looks at punitive car damage and its relationship to other types of damage that are possible.

Types of Car Damage After an Accident

Types of Car Damage

By types of car damage, we mean their legal classification. Damages include injuries to another driver and body damage to their car. Your basic liability car insurance should cover any damages you cause.

Damages like these after a car accident are categorized in the following ways:

  • Special damages – Aside from damage and injuries, special damage also calculates things such as lost earnings and other lost income as a result of the accident. Basic liability car insurance should cover special damages.
  • Non-economic damages – These are damages that can’t exactly be calculated, such as pain and mental trauma. Car insurance can have coverage for this specific type of damage.

You’ve probably noticed that both of these types of damages are covered by car insurance. This makes them known as compensatory damage –meaning that they must and will be compensated for by car insurance.

Punitive Car Damage is…

Damages are considered not compensatory, meaning that they aren’t covered by car insurance. These damages are specifically mentioned in order to persecute the at-fault driver for negligent or reckless driving. The good news is that punitive damages are entirely avoidable.

Punitive car damage is when the at-fault driver is:

  • Negligent – This can include texting while driving or simply having your hands full behind the wheel. Driving a car with mechanical issues or long overdue for an inspection can also qualify as negligence.
  • Reckless driving – Excessive speeding and overly reckless maneuvers with a track record of such driving can lead to damage caused being labeled as punitive.
  • Willful disregard for others – Few people set out wanting to use their vehicle as a weapon, but this can include street racers as well. Car insurance will not only cover damage these kinds of drivers cause but question why they insure them in the first place.

Punitive Car Damage is Determined by…

Damage is Determined by

Traffic court often considers the following before issuing a punitive damage charge to an at-fault driver:

  • Driver’s character and conduct – This includes the nature of the accident and past similar incidents, if any.
  • How other drivers can suffer if no penalties are passed – This is when they ask how much of a threat they would be to other drivers.
  • Severity of harm the other driver suffered in the accident – Of course, they will look at the severity of the accident and the events leading up to it.

Driving Under The Influence as a Punitive Damage

Driving under the influence can be classified as punitive damage if it is the main cause of an accident and negligent driving. However, this may not be the case if there was alcohol found in the at-fault driver’s system but not enough to contribute to impaired driving. So, whether a DUI will be counted as punitive damage depends on the at-fault driver’s BAC level.

Preventing Punitive Car Damage

Car Damage

“P” is for punitive, but it’s also for preventable. This is the case in reality. You can make a choice not to make reckless decisions while driving and keep the well-being of other drivers in mind. You’ll find you won’t only lessen your chances of punitive car damages but car damage in general.

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Lexinter Law, with a team of dedicated authors who strive to provide you with all the relevant and actionable tips on the legal aspect of your life. Our goal is to educate you so that you can make legal action with ease, or find the right person who can help you with your unique personal legal dilemma. Take care!

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