When Do Courts Allow Punitive Damages in Georgia Premises Liability Cases?
Sustaining severe injuries from a premises liability accident as an implied or directly invited guest is awfully traumatic. However, when you suffer severe injuries from a premises liability accident that may have been the result of a property owner acting with carelessness and disregard for the well-being of their visitors that was so egregious, punitive damages may be part of a Georgia premises liability personal injury claim award.
Punitive Damages is defined under O.C.G. A. § 51-12-5.1
According to sub-section (a), punitive damages are civil damages awarded to plaintiffs from the defendants due to their “aggravating circumstances in order to penalize, punish, or deter a defendant.” Subsection (b) specifies that punitive damages are available to plaintiffs in personal injury claims that demonstrate the defendant displayed “willful misconduct…..which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences” during the course of the personal injury incident.
How do Punitive Damages Factor into a Personal Injury Claim?
If a premises liability claim’s circumstances do not involve an intentional act, punitive damages may be capped at $250,000 per claim. However, if there are circumstances that prove intention to a court of law, the limit of punitive damages may be waived. This limit applies to all defendants accused in a premises liability personal injury claim.
What are Examples of Gross or Willful Negligence?
There are many ways a premises liability may qualify for punitive damages. If the landlord/building owner is aware of structural defects and chooses not to make necessary repairs in a reasonable amount of time and the building injuries or kills someone, there may be cause for punitive damages. If the owner/operator of a retail outlet knows they are in a high crime area, have had neighboring stores robbed and have been warned by public safety officers, the store operator may be responsible for punitive damages if a patron is injured or killed on their premises.
These are just two examples of how a structure’s owner/operator may face punitive damages from a personal injury claim. Since every premise liability incident is unique and the circumstances surround it will vary, it is essential to speak with a Grayson accident lawyer. When you call the Law Offices of Shane Smith at (770) 487-8999 you will be able to schedule a free legal consultation with a Georgia accident attorney who will evaluate your circumstances and see if you have a case. Don’t wait any longer to protect your legal rights.