Punitive or Compensatory Damages due to Car Accidents

Anything that will catch your attention while you are behind the wheel and cause you to veer your focus on that thing rather than on your driving, then something unpleasant may just likely happen.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continuously and untiringly reminds motorists that it never be complacent in apprehending and punishing violators of traffic laws, especially if these violations injure or cause the death of an innocent victim (another motorist, a motorcyclist, bicyclist or pedestrian).

Dangerous road behaviors that continue to put at risk everyone’s safety include driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI), reckless driving, overspeeding or driving at a speed that is unsafe for a particular road or weather condition, and distracted driving, which is now fast becoming a major threat on the road.

Unlike other causes of car accidents which are focused mainly on single acts (like DUI, which only involves consumption of alcohol), distracted driving takes different forms, so many of which are so ordinary that drivers no longer realize that they are already being distracted.

Cell phone use (whether using a hands-free or hand-held phone to text, call someone or answer someone’s call) is currently identified as the most common form of driver distraction. The many other forms of distraction drivers are guilty of include: talking or arguing with his/her passenger; eating; drinking; reaching for an object, like from the back seat of the car, causing him or her to look away from the road as well as take one hand off the wheel; adjusting a car radio or a GPS device; using a laptop or reading a map for directions; playing with a child or a pet; grooming, like brushing one’s hair or applying make-up, or fixing a tie; lighting a cigarette; driving while angry; and so forth.

One revealing result of records analysis made by the NHTSA is that the ones most guilty when it comes to distracted driving are young drivers, particularly those aged between 17 and 24. This also means that most of those who violate safety traffic rules, as well as the most common victims of fatal car crashes, are young drivers too.

Regardless of who the person behind the wheel is, a car accident taking place due to reasons such as negligence, carelessness and distraction, can be avoided. For victims, one important thing they should consider after an accident is hiring a seasoned personal injury lawyer, who may be able to help them get the compensation that the law may entitle them to receive.

According to the website of the law firm Ali Mokaram, “Compensation or commonly referred to as damages, can be divided into two categories, punitive or compensatory damages. Punitive damages are penalties that a judge will award to the plaintiff that is specifically designed to punish the defendant for their heinous acts. These damages are typically reserved for cases involving tort law and are often used to deter the defendant from doing the act again. On the contrary, compensatory damages are designed to help the plaintiff to pay for the costs of recovering after the injury. These damages often include things such as lost wages, property damages, and lawyer fees.”

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