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Punitive Damages: Holding Those At-Fault Accountable For Particularly Reckless Behavior in a Portland Car Accident Claim

By Marc A. Johnston, posted in Car Accidents, Personal Injury on September 3, 2021

Mistakes and errors on the part of other drivers are a leading cause of car accidents in Portland. In some cases, they may be guilty of extreme recklessness, willfully taking actions that obviously endanger the lives of each other. In this situation, they could be held liable for punitive damages in a car accident lawsuit. This is an additional amount they may be ordered to pay which serves to punish them and prevent others from engaging in similar behavior. 

Reckless Behaviors That Create Considerable Risks For Car Accident Injuries

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that there are a number of risky driving behaviors that make car accidents more likely to happen. These include aggressive driving, such as tailgating, improper passing, and failure to yield, distracted driving, such as using cell phones or texting and driving too fast for conditions or over the speed limit. Otherwise conscientious drivers who engage in these types of behaviors can be held liable for injuries that you suffer as a result. 

There are some situations in which a driver’s behavior goes above and beyond being risky. Extremely willful and reckless driving behaviors that increase the risk of crashes and also the potential for life-threatening personal injuries include: 

  • Driving at excessively high rates of speed;
  • Driving under the influence and with a high blood alcohol content (BAC) level;
  • Purposefully running red lights and stop signs;
  • Episodes of road rage, in which one driver may purposely crash into another or attempt to run them off the road. 

Punitive Damages In Car Accident Claims

You may be entitled to compensation for car accident injuries in Portland through insurance policies you and the at-fault driver have in place. In some cases, rather than settle with insurers, your best course of action may be to file a car accident lawsuit. This is generally true when injuries are severe or the other driver engaged in especially willful and negligent behavior. Under the Oregon Statutes, the compensation available includes: 

  • Economic damages, which cover actual costs, including your current and future medical expenses and lost wages;
  • Non-economic damages, which compensate you for intangible losses, such as your pain and suffering;
  • Punitive damages, which are designed to punish the at-fault driver involved. 

If the at-fault driver acted with a conscious indifference to the health, safety, and welfare of others and created an unreasonable risk of harm, we can push for punitive damages. These can total two or three times the amount of other compensation awarded. In addition to punishing the driver, they send a message to others, discouraging them from engaging in similar behavior. 

Let Us Help You Today

To discuss your options in regards to punitive damages in a car accident and other compensation, request a consultation with the Johnston Law Firm P.C. Our goal is to ensure you get the maximum amount you are entitled to. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland car accident attorneys online today.

Marc Johnston
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