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Punitive Damages in a Premise Liability Case

Damages You May Be Entitled to in a Premises Liability Case

Compensatory damages are intended to compensate an injured individual for his or her losses after a premises liability accident. In general, a plaintiff must prove he or she was harmed or injured in order to be entitled to damages. If an individual did not sustain any injuries, there is typically no need for any damages. 

If you have any questions about your premises liability case or would like to schedule a free consultation with one of our premises liability attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers, please contact us by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form. 

Punitive Damages Explained

Punitive damages are intended as punishment and will only be awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are rare and in fact only feature in about 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages in a premises liability claim. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a claim.

Punitive Damages and Premises Liability

In order for an injured individual to be entitled to punitive damages after a premises liability incident, he or she must prove that the defendant acted with a “conscious disregard” for safety. If it can be shown that a property owner knew about a hazardous condition and deliberately failed to do anything about it, an injured plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages.

There is a three part test to identify the elements needed to bring negligent acts to the status of “conscious disregard”:

  • Actual/constructive knowledge of the hazard
  • Actual/constructive knowledge that an injury is likely as a result of that hazard
  • Deliberate failure to act to take reasonable action to eliminate that hazard

Demonstrating that a property owner was aware of a danger and deliberately did nothing to address it is crucial. For example, did a property owner already know that a security gate was not working properly and did nothing about it? Did a restaurant manager know a machine was leaking and causing water to accumulate where customers could easily slip and fall?

Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, it is crucial that you can prove a property owner was aware of a dangerous condition and consciously decided not to take reasonable action. If you can prove that this is the case, you may have a claim for punitive damages, on top of the compensatory damages you may already be entitled to.

Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a premises liability incident, our expert team of personal injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you get the compensation you deserve for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Contact us today by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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