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Overview of punitive damages awards

If one thinks about it, a lot of accidents happen each day in the Kansas City area in which at least one person gets seriously or at least significantly injured. These accidents come in all different shapes and sizes and can happen on the road, at work, while out and about and just about anywhere.

These accidents range from anywhere to the virtually unavoidable tragedy to an incident that people could rightly attribute to a stupid mistake or even a pattern of careless or thoughtless behavior.

There is also a class of accidents, if that is the right term, that happen because someone quite frankly was acting with no regard for the safety and well-being of those around them. In the world of auto accidents, a drunk driving accident is a good example of this.

After these types of incidents, the law across the states, including in Kansas and Missouri, has recognized that victims deserve more than just compensation for their losses. They have, after all suffered a real injustice, and the responsible party should be held to account for that.

As a result, under circumstances similar to what have been described here, a victim may ask for, and a jury award, what are called punitive damages. Because they are designed to send a message to the responsible party, they are not necessarily connected to the actual losses a victim suffered. Generally speaking, however, they have to be in reasonable portion. One would not ordinarily expect a $10 million award of punitive damages, for instance, if the actual injuries amounted to $1,000.

Under what circumstances a person can ask for punitive damages is really a question best asked to one's personal injury lawyer, as the nuances of the law can even vary between Kansas and Missouri. Hopefully, this overview will at least get victims thinking about whether punitive damages might be available in their case.

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