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Can I recover punitive damages after a Wisconsin accident?

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Punitive damages are possible in some Wisconsin personal injury cases. However, not everyone who is able to recover compensatory damages for things such as medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering is able to recover punitive damages after a Wisconsin accident. Instead, Wisconsin law limits when a plaintiff may recover punitive damages.

If you’ve been injured in a Wisconsin accident, then it is important to understand what the law says about punitive damages and protect all of your rights by talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

What Wisconsin Law Says About Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and to discourage others from behaving in a similar way in the future. They are not meant to compensate the injury victim even though that will happen if punitive damages are awarded by the court. According to Wisconsin Statutes, Section 895.043:

  • A plaintiff may receive punitive damages if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant acted “maliciously toward the plaintiff” or with “intentional disregard of the rights of the plaintiff.”
  • The plaintiff must prove the case for punitive damages to the court with evidence. The plaintiff may also provide evidence about the defendant’s wealth or ability to pay an award of punitive damages.
  • The decision about punitive damages will be made by the jury or the judge independently of the case for liability and compensatory damages.
  • If punitive damages are awarded by the court, the amount of the punitive damages may not exceed twice the amount of compensatory damages awarded by the court or $200,000—whichever is greater. However, this limit on punitive damages may not apply in some drunk driving cases.

If you’ve been hurt and you believe that you may have a case for punitive damages, then it is important to talk to an experienced lawyer who has brought punitive damages cases before Wisconsin courts in previous cases and who knows how to protect all of your rights. Please contact us any time—24/7/365—to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today and to learn more about all of the damages that you can recover in a Wisconsin personal injury accident.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham