Auto accident victims in Georgia can sue for punitive damages when the defendant acted not just in a negligent manner but in a reckless. An incident that occurred in early January 2019 in Anderson County, South Carolina, gives one possible example of driver recklessness.
It all began with a joint narcotics investigation by Anderson deputies, Anderson PD and the Drug Enforcement Agency. One deputy noticed a black Mitsubishi Eclipse and a white Chrysler PT Cruiser suspiciously driving in tandem. Noticing also that the Eclipse had a broken taillight, the deputy activated the blue lights for a traffic stop.
Instead of pulling over, though, the Eclipse gave chase, speeding into the oncoming lane, ignoring red lights and driving down the median to pass other vehicles while traveling through downtown Anderson. Chase speeds reached a maximum of 60 mph.
Eventually, the pursuit ended at a signal-controlled intersection; the Eclipse entered the median to pass the cars stopped at a light when it collided with a vehicle that was attempting to make a left turn. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital with a broken left arm.
The driver of the Eclipse, a 28-year-old male, refused to cooperate and had to be physically removed from the vehicle. He faces charges of failure to stop for blue lights, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and meth trafficking.
In a car accident such as this, the victim could file a personal injury claim and be covered for medical expenses, lost wages and other legitimate losses. Punitive damages, on the other hand, exceed compensatory relief and are meant to punish the defendant for reckless behavior. Such punishment is separate from criminal punishment. Because the other side will most likely have legal representation, victims are encouraged to hire a lawyer for negotiations and, if necessary, litigation.