Can I Seek Punitive Damages After a Truck Accident in Virginia?

Commercial truck accidents result in devastating consequences, leading to catastrophic injuries, property damages, and emotional distress. In the aftermath of such accidents, victims often seek compensation to recover economic and non-economic damages. In some cases, punitive damages are also pursued in Virginia to punish the at-fault party or parties for his or her grossly negligent, reckless, or wanton conduct. Getting punitive damages is very challenging, but it is possible with the right set of facts and a highly experienced lawyer by your side. 

At Waterman Law Centers, PLLC, we know the evidence we must present in order to be awarded punitive damages on your behalf. With 40 years of award-winning service, we may use black box data, pictures of the scene, eyewitness testimony, and other relevant evidence to show the defendant had no concern for others’ safety or was aware his or her actions would cause injury but still failed to take any safeguards to avoid harming others.

What Are Punitive Damages? 

Punitive damages are not given to compensate the victim for his or her losses. Instead, the primary purpose is to punish the defendant for his or her willful misconduct, gross negligence, or intentional harm. This type of damages also is used to serve as a deterrent, discouraging similar behavior in the future. 

One of the following key elements must be established for seeking punitive damages: 

  • Willful and wanton negligence: Your truck accident lawyer must show that the at-fault party acted with conscious disregard for the safety of others, which involves proving the truck driver or company engaged in extremely reckless behavior, such as driving intoxicated, seriously violating safety regulations, or knowingly ignoring vehicle maintenance issues. 
  • Malice: Typically, this means that the defendant intended to cause harm or acted with ill will toward others, which is uncommon.

Under Virginia law, punitive damage awards are capped at $350,000. If a jury awards over this amount for punitive damages, the judge will reduce the award to the $350,000 cap.

At Waterman Law Centers, PLLC, we provide comprehensive case assessments to determine the full extent of the damages you are able to recover. In building a strong truck accident claim on your behalf, if possible we will attempt to prove willful and wanton negligence by the liable parties to obtain punitive damages for the injuries you suffered. 

Recovering Compensatory Damages in a Truck Accident Claim in Virginia

In a successful truck accident claim, compensatory damages provide monetary compensation to reimburse the victim for the losses he or she suffered. The specific damages vary based on the circumstances of the accident, the extent of your injuries, and other factors. 

Generally, the following economic and non-economic losses are recoverable: 

  • Pain, suffering, and inconvenience 
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Continuing disability and limitations
  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages from missed work
  • Mental anguish

It is essential to keep a thorough record of your expenses and losses, including invoices, receipts, pay stubs, and other relevant documentation. This evidence will help you establish the extent of your damages when pursuing a claim. 

To secure the compensation you deserve, consult the award-winning truck accident lawyer at Waterman Law Centers, PLLC, to advocate for the justice you deserve throughout the legal process. 

Speak With the Award-Winning Truck Accident Lawyer at Waterman Law Centers, PLLC 

Seeking punitive damages after a truck accident is possible in Virginia, but it requires meeting stringent criteria and proving willful and wanton negligence or malice on the part of the truck driver or company. The lawyer at Waterman Law Center, PLLC, will handle all details of your case, including proving these elements. Attorney Avery T. “Sandy” Waterman, Jr., Esq. was named to The Best Lawyers in America for Personal Injury during 2007-2024 and was voted its “Lawyer of the Year” for Personal Injury by his peers in Southeast Virginia in 2022; and Waterman Law Centers has been listed as a Metropolitan Tier 1 Best Law Firm for Personal Injury in U.S. News & World Report for 2021-2023.

For a free consultation, call our office at (757) 881-9881 or fill out a contact form today.