Arizona Punitive Damages in Auto Accidents and other Personal Injury Cases

Punitive damages in Arizona are rare. In fact, Arizona trial lawyers fighting for punitive damages always have an uphill climb. Across the United States, the primary study said in a report that only 5% of all trials included punitive damages awards. So, for someone who has suffered serious injuries as the result of a defendant that should be liable for punitive damages in an Arizona courtroom, what should they do? Where do they turn?

For individuals wanting to pursue punitive damages, they must be aware that it will almost always take an experienced Arizona personal injury lawyer to help them pursue the claim. Why? Because Arizona law allows for punitive damages in only rare cases.

Sometimes, people call our firm seeking punitive damages after an auto accident in Arizona. Well, some lawyers may tell them that a regular car accident with serious personal injuries is a punitive damages case. However, in most cases, the best injury lawyers know that is not the case. It takes intentional conduct or, at a minimum, deliberate indifference on the part of a defendant to allow for punitive damages. In other words, as the Arizona Supreme Court has stated, punitive damages are appropriate when the defendant’s conduct has been guided by an “evil hand and evil mind.”

Now, understand that just placing profits before people can be the type of deliberate indifference that meets this test. Knowingly taking actions likely to cause serious injury or death to others can often raise a case to one where punitive damages are appropriate. Drunk driving accidents in Arizona often include claims of punitive damages. But simply alleging punitive damages is not enough, the plaintiff in Arizona must prove that punitive damages are appropriate, something that is hard to do and requires more than just a preponderance of the evidence.

On the other hand, failing to allege punitive damages where they are appropriate can have devastating effects on an injury claim. As a result, turning to experienced counsel that has fought for punitive damages in Arizona courts can be the difference between a fair and just verdict, and one where the ultimate settlement or compensation falls short of what is needed to both compensate the victim and to deter future, bad conduct by others.

If you have any questions about the appropriateness of punitive damages in an Arizona auto accident case or other injury claim, feel free to call Breyer Law Offices, P.C. at 623-930-8064. We have handled many cases that included punitive damages claims, and have also had many other opportunities to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of making such a claim with many clients who have suffered serious injuries in Arizona.

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