In some cases, a construction related accident may result in a court ordering punitive damages meant to punish the person responsible for the accident. In many construction injury lawsuits, most damages are meant to compensate accident victims for all foreseeable harm resulting from the mistake of the person responsible. These are known as compensatory damages and they include pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages. The main purpose of compensation is to make you “whole again”. In other words, the person responsible for your accident is not punished.
Punitive damages on the other hand serve a different purpose. Below is a brief discussion of what these damages entail.
Controversy Of Punitive Damages
Some reformers are trying very hard to ban or at least limit punitive damages. This is because personal injury lawsuits raise the cost of doing business for construction companies. This in turn increases thecost of constructing new buildings, which can serve as an obstacle to economic growth.
Critics argue that punitive damages shouldn’t exist in construction injury lawsuits because there are other ways that an injured person can reach the same goals. In addition, they argue that the money awarded in punitive damages should not go to the injured person. Compensation damages are enough and if they should be awarded punitive damages then they would receive a windfall. Not only does this make little sense but it also encourages frivolous litigation.
When Are Punitive Damages Available?
If a construction company is legally liable for any mistake that led to your injury, then they should compensate you. In order for you to file a lawsuit for punitive damages, you have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the company did something so deplorable that compensatory damages would be simply getting them off lightly.
This means that you have to show that what the company did was reckless or intentional. For instance, Mr. Smith, an electrician, gets into an argument with the general contractor over his consistent failure to arrive to work on time. The general contractor gets upset and decides that he should get rid of Mr. Smith. So he intentionally decides that he will not turn off the electricity at Mr. Smith’s work site and as a result, Mr. Smith gets electrocuted.
This behavior would warrant punitive damages. The general contractor did not leave the electricity on by accident; he did it intentionally and this can even warrant criminal charges.
Another example where punitive damages might be available is when a construction company intentionally puts its workers lives at risk simply because it wants to save money. For instance, a construction company might decide that asbestos is the best type of insulation to use in their new and upcoming building because it is 80% cheaper than other types of insulation.
Asbestos is a cancer causing agent but the company figures that since cancer takes a long time to develop, they wouldn’t face any personal injury lawsuits until a few years down the line. By then, they would have made enough profit to cover any lawsuits that come their way.
In such a case, punitive damages are meant to hit the company where it would hurt the most; in their pocketbook.
Are There Limits on Punitive Damages?
Many states limit punitive damages in personal injury lawsuits. You should contact a construction injury lawyer as soon as possible to find out what your options are.
Hiring A Construction Injury Lawyer
Working in a construction site is a hazardous job. Some of the injuries at a construction site can be prevented. If you are a victim of a construction accident, you might be entitled to compensation.
Our MA and RI construction site accident lawyers can help you. You do not have to suffer through paying medical bills, disability, scarring or lost wages. We know the court systems and we can build a solid case. We have experience in handling construction site injury cases so we can help you get the financial compensation that you deserve.
Construction site injuries can disrupt your life so our lawyers can meet with you anywhere you feel is convenient. Simply let us know what’s comfortable for you and we’ll take it from there. You need to hire a lawyer who will fight for your rights.
Call us today at (800)-200-7752 or fill out our contact form for a free initial consultation.