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When are punitive damages available?

When a West Palm Beach, Florida, resident loses a loved one to a motor vehicle accident, they may want to see justice done with respect to those responsible for their loved one's death. While no amount of money can bring a person back after a deadly accident, seeing the responsible party held accountable for their misdeeds can give a family some sense of peace and closure, as if an injustice was rectified.

Rectifying injustice is one of the reasons, in certain cases, that Floridians can get punitive damages following fatal car accidents. Punitive damages are not designed so much as to repay victims as they are to make sure the party responsible for the accident, as well as others, do not engage in dangerous and seriously thoughtless behavior. The damages attempt to accomplish this goal via the imposition of a financial penalty.

Because they operate more in the manner of a fine or penalty, however, a victim has to take additional steps in order to get punitive damages. Basically, a victim's family will have to show by what is called "clear and convincing" evidence that the responsible party either caused the victim's injuries on purpose or did so through "gross negligence."

Terms like "clear and convincing" and "gross negligence" are terms of art that can best be explained by West Palm Beach, Florida, fatal auto accident compensation attorneys. However, the important point is that while it takes some additional work to get punitive damages, they are obtainable in many wrongful death cases, such as when a driver is accused of reckless or intoxicated driving.

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