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Can a Truck Accident Victim Sue for Lost Profits, Punitive Damages, and Bad Faith Attorney’s Fees?

Posted in Truck Accidents on July 6, 2022

There are various types of compensation that individuals may be able to recover if they sustain an injury or property damage as a result of the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company in Georgia. It is crucial for crash victims to be made as “whole” as possible in the aftermath of these situations. Here, we want to discuss whether or not you can recover compensation for lost wages, exemplary damages, and bad faith attorney’s fees.

Suing for Lost Wages

After a vehicle versus truck accident, it is not uncommon for victims to have to take time away from work to recover from their injuries. Due to the sheer size and weight of these larger trucks, individuals inside smaller passenger vehicles often sustain severe injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma, broken bones, and more.

If a person has to take time off of work, this can significantly affect their income and their ability to care for themselves and their family members. Lost wages should always be a part of the request for compensation from the trucking company and the truck company’s insurance carrier. These lost wages should include any money a person cannot earn while they recover, as well as any long-term wages lost because a person either cannot return to work or cannot return to a job in the same capacity.

Obtaining Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded only in situations where there is “clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences,” according to O.C.G.A. § 15-12-5.1.

These types of damages are meant to act as a punishment toward the defendant – in this case, the trucking company or the truck driver. Punitive damages are reserved for situations where the actions of the defendant were especially egregious. In addition to acting as a punishment, these types of damages also send a signal to others that the types of behavior displayed in the case are unacceptable and should not occur again.

Bad Faith Attorney’s Fees

There are situations where trucking companies or the truck driver purposely obfuscate a claim. In these cases, it may be possible to recover attorney’s fees for a successful case. If the defendants have “acted in bad faith, has been stubbornly litigious, or has caused the plaintiff unnecessary trouble and expense” (O.C.G.A. § 13-6-11), then it is likely a judge will allow the plaintiff to recover attorney’s fees as part of the judgment.

There are various ways that a trucking company or truck driver could operate in bad faith, including failing to provide documents in a timely manner, failing to provide information about insurance or legal teams promptly when the claim commences, or destroying evidence after explicitly being told not to.

Working With a Lawyer

If you or somebody you love has been injured or sustained property damage in an accident involving a large commercial truck in Georgia, reach out to an Atlanta personal injury attorney immediately. Please claims can become complicated, particularly when going up against well funded trucking companies and their legal teams. You need to have an advocate by your side.