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Gwinnett County Truck Accident Attorney Shane Smith Explains Punitive Damages in Georgia Truck Accident Cases

How Do I Know If My Recovery Includes Punitive Damages I Georgia Truck Accident Attorney

Based on recent statistics, there have been nearly 31,000 reckless Gwinnett County truck accidents and many other passenger vehicle accidents passenger vehicle accidents throughout Georgia. Based on these statistics and countless others, you never know when you might be the victim of a reckless Mountain Park truck accident.

How Do I Know If My Case Might Include Punitive Damages?

Simply put, punitive damages are allowed under Georgia State law O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5 to permit victims of Gwinnett County truck accidents to punish reckless behavior. Punitive damages are available, when recklessness can be proved to a jury, in addition to existing medical, property, emotional and related damages through negligent Mountain Park truck accident claims.

There are also many court cases that define recklessness. In the 1993 court case Smith v. Tommy Roberts Trucking Company, the trucking company was fully aware of its drivers speeding on a consistent  basis and the plaintiff kept moving the defendant’s car forward after impact.

Another case settled in 1992, J. B. Hunt Transport v. Bentley held that recklessness was demonstrated when the truck’s operator found a serious mechanical issue with their truck, but made the judgment that they could operate it an additional 20 miles.

While these are specific instances of recklessness in a Gwinnett County truck accident, they do provide good reference for your Georgia truck accident attorney to based your case’s circumstances on and see if you do have a Mountain Park truck accident claim and if it has an element of recklessness to it.  Speak with Georgia truck accident attorney Shane Smith during a free consultation – call (770) 487-8999.

There is a Lower Threshold in Proving Recklessness for Truck Drivers

Unlike standard motor vehicle operators, Georgia truck drivers in civil cases are tried to a more elevated duty of care and thus proving recklessness requires a lower threshold to be proven. The courts have interpreted that recklessness can indeed be proven in real world scenarios. By a tractor trailer driver failing to warn other motorists of its stopped state, by not placing federally required warning triangles in the back of its truck, the operator was found to be reckless. It was also determined that the operator failed to turn on the truck’s lights.

Are Punitive Damages Limited or Regulated in Any Way?

According to O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5, punitive damages are limited to $250,000. However, there may be limited circumstances in which punitive damages may exceed this amount.

In order to determine if you have been the victim of a Gwinnett County truck accident that has risen to the level of recklessness or wanton disregard, please contact a Mountain Park truck accident attorney. The Law Offices of Shane Smith can help you figure out if your Georgia truck accident merits a legal claim and if there are elements of recklessness. By calling (888) 927-6955 you can schedule a free legal consultation to see what legal rights you are entitled to.         


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia