Salmonella Law Suit

Filing a Lawsuit for Salmonella Infection.

Hearing a friend got “food poisoning” is always sad, but an infection with salmonella is no laughing matter. Salmonella infections can cause severe health issues and even cause death. You should never feel reluctant to file a lawsuit for salmonella infection. Salmonella infections contracted at a restaurant or from a commercial food product are almost always due to the negligence of those preparing, harvesting, or transporting the food. In other words, you could have been saved from salmonella if they had only taken reasonable precautions to keep you safe.

How do I file a lawsuit for salmonella infection?

This is the kind of thing you really should use an attorney for.  Yes, it’s possible to go it alone, however our experience tells us that the insurance companies don’t take people seriously until they’ve got a lawyer. So what’s the first step?

  1. Talk with an attorney. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can tell you if you have a viable case, and what to expect if you go forward. There’s a lot of factors that must be considered before setting out on the challenging path of fighting the insurance companies. Our knowledge becomes your power, as we can tell you what to expect, what we’ve seen, and more. Talking with one of our attorneys or case managers is free, and we don’t charge you anything unless we win.
  2. Continue treatment. Don’t stop your medical treatment for your salmonella infection till you’re 100% better. Do you need help finding a specialist? We can help. These medical records will be pivotal in getting you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
  3. Never give up. We will be with you every step of the way.

In this article, we will examine some of the issues that can arise from a salmonella infection, and the reasons you may want to consider filing a lawsuit for salmonella infection.

What is salmonella food poisoning?

Salmonella is a bacteria that causes one of the most common intestinal infections in the USA. Of those infections, MOST of them come from commercial food – restaurants, commercially harvested vegetables, supermarkets, etc. The majority of salmonella food poisonings are not induced by home meal preparation.

The worst part about salmonella infections is that they can be much MUCH worse than a typical “Food poisoning.”

What happens when salmonella infections get worse?

Salmonella infections can lead to terrible complications, from blood infections to irritable-bowel syndrome, to kidney failure and even death. Infants and immune-compromised people are especially at risk of salmonella causing a worse infection or invasive disease. You should always seek medical treatment, and, when it’s clear the infection was caused by a restaurant, grocery store, or other commercial enterprise, you should file a lawsuit for salmonella infection.

Worst case scenarios of salmonella complications include:

salmonella infectionBlood infection – Bacteria manage to infect the bloodstream. This is considered a life-threatening problem. The blood carries the infection throughout your body.

Reactive arthritis – reactive arthritis can be caused when salmonella causes a secondary infection which causes the joints to become inflamed, even though the infection is located in a totally different part of your body. Remember, an inexperienced doctor might dismiss joint pains as unrelated to your salmonella infection. A good salmonella infection lawyer can help you get access to the specialists who can recognize and diagnose reactive arthritis properly. This inflammation can occur weeks after the infection and last for months or even years.

Typhoid fever – the life threatening disease typhoid fever is a form of salmonella poisoning. These infections can cause kidney failure which can severely shorten a lifespan.

Kidney failure – Salmonella can lead to kidney failure in many ways, from accumulation of toxins in the kidneys to damage by proteins that the infection has damaged. Nobody facing “food poisoning” thinks it could end up leading to a life of dialysis, but it has happened.

Organ failure – invasive salmonella can spread throughout the body and attack your internal organs. In some cases this leads to death.
Nobody who goes out to eat deserves a lifetime of kidney treatments. Nobody picking up a salad at the grocery store should have to endure years of severe joint pain. If you’ve had complications due to a salmonella infection, you should file a lawsuit.

Why use an attorney on your salmonella lawsuit?

Consider this: Before you were infected, did you know that salmonella could lead to years of severe joint pain? Did you know a side effect of salmonella infection was kidney failure? If you’re like most of us, you probably didn’t even know these things. The insurance companies covering the restaurants and the grocery stores are counting on you not knowing anything.

You need an attorney with experience in salmonella lawsuits. We know how to find the specialists who can get you the right diagnoses, and who can testify in court that your pain and suffering is very real and deserves fair compensation.

If you’ve been infected by salmonella, give us a call. We can have a frank discussion about your rights and if you should file a lawsuit for salmonella infection.


Elder Financial Abuse – What You Need to Know

One of the most serious problems confronting our growing elderly population is the risk of elder financial abuse. Elder financial abuse is defined as the use of unfair or deceptive practices that financially exploit and rob the elderly of the money that they spent their whole lives saving. In fact, it is already a widespread problem affecting people across the country. According to Consumer Reports, only 1 in 44 acts of abuse is ever reported, and the rate of elder abuse continues to grow.

Who Commits Elderly Financial Abuse?

One of the scariest things about this crime is that it can be perpetrated by almost anyone who is in direct contact with the victim. Most frequently, this abuse is committed by close friends and family, but caregivers and other helpers also have the ability to steal from their elderly patients. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, elderly financial abuse can be committed by:

  • Caregivers
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Attorneys
  • Neighbors
  • Bank employees
  • Priests
  • Medical professionals

How Can You Prevent It?

The financial exploitation of the elderly is a serious problem, but fortunately there are steps you can take to make sure that you do not become a victim. Firstly, you should make sure you have trustworthy professionals who will help you manage your estate. CPAs and certified financial planners can help you manage your retirement accounts, but you also want to hire a reliable estate planning attorney such as one of the many at Clear Counsel. A good estate planning attorney will help you write power of attorney documents, as well as will documents. With their help, you can also establish trusts and structure them so that your relatives’ access to the money is controlled or limited.

When your attorney is helping you craft your power of attorney, you want to give a lot of thought to who you should give that power. That person is legally obligated to act in your best interests, but with the power of attorney, he or she will have the ability to manage your money without your supervision. That is why it is critically important that you assign power of attorney to a family member who is very trustworthy. Consumer Reports recommends that you give that power to a family member who is financially secure and more detached from you instead of the family members who are closest to you. That may reduce the risk of abuse, but it always depends on the situation. It is also possible to assign a separate relative or friend to monitor the person who has power of attorney and that will give you greater protection and control over the situation.

It is also a good idea to set up most of your recurring payments as direct deposit. Payments such as those that come from pensions, Social Security, and tax refunds should go directly to your bank account. That will reduce the risk that someone close to you, such as a caregiver, will have access to your money. Finally, you can work with your bank so that recurring payments such as mortgage payments and utility bills are paid out automatically from your account. This will further reduce the risk that someone close you can exploit you financially.

Call the experienced staff at Clear Counsel today to set up a consultation about your legal rights and set up the documents that will help to protect you from elder financial abuse.

Why Should I Set Up a Trust?

A very common misconception among people engaged in estate planning is the idea that only the extremely wealthy should establish a trust. This is actually not true. If you have more than $100,000 worth of assets, it is typically a good idea to set up a trust. There are other circumstances when a trust would be a good idea:

  • A business, real estate property, or an art collection makes up a large portion of your assets
  • Paying out your estate to your heirs in very specific ways
  • Setting aside a portion of your estate for children from a prior marriage
  • Maximizing exemptions from estate taxes
  • Providing benefits to a disabled relative

Benefits of a Trust

Control: With a trust, you can decide exactly how much of your assets are distributed, when, and to whom. For instance, if some of your heirs are less responsible with money, you can arrange the trust so that they receive their disbursements in smaller amounts and at a later date. You can also set conditions such as graduation from college or marriage, so that the money is distributed in exactly the way you prefer.

Reducing Taxes: There are many different types of trusts, and they are subject to taxes in different ways. Generally speaking, trusts are a great way to reduce the amount of estate and gift taxes that would normally be paid.

Avoiding Probate: Probate is a long and costly process. reports that probate can cost between 5-7% of your estate. By setting up a trust, your heirs can get access to your estate quickly and easily and bypass the probate process altogether. Another advantage is that the probate process is public record. If you would like to distribute your assets privately and provide privacy to your heirs, a trust is the perfect way to do that.

Protecting Your Assets: Transferring your assets to a trust can protect them from lawsuits and creditors. If you can survive financially without many of your assets, creating a trust is a good way to protect them long term.

Supervision: For most types of trusts, you will name a successor trustee. This person will manage the assets after you pass away, and by choosing a savvy and capable trustee, you can ensure that your assets will be managed wisely. This is a great solution if your spouse or heirs lack the skills to manage your assets effectively, or if you wish to distribute assets to children or disabled relatives who may not be able to watch over your assets on their own.

Providing for Charity: Trusts can be drafted so that a portion of your estate goes to charity. For instance, some trusts are designed so that they give the maximum tax-exempt amount to your heirs and then transfer the rest of your estate to charity. If you would like to donate a large portion of your assets, a trust is an excellent way to do that.

Like all forms of estate planning, you will need professional help to establish a trust. According to Investopedia, you will need to pay between $1000 and $3000 for attorney fees when you are setting up a trust. But if these benefits appeal to you, creating a trust is a smart investment.


What Is a Totten Trust?

In 1904, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that individuals could name a beneficiary to an upon-death bank account. The case was referred to as Matter of Totten, which is where this trust got its name. While a totten trust does not meet the formal requirements to be considered a traditional trust, the courts ruled that because these types of bank accounts usually held smaller amounts of money, the practice could continue.

How to Open a Totten Trust

If you are in the process of planning your estate, you may be wondering what will happen to your bank accounts once you die. In most situations, bank accounts are jointly held between two people within marriage. When one person dies, the surviving spouse will become the sole owner of the account, and the account will not need to go through the probate process. However, if you are the sole owner of a bank account, then you will need to take other steps to ensure that your bank account is transferred to the individual you prefer.

A totten trust is basically a “payable-on-death” account, where a named beneficiary will take sole ownership of the account upon your death. In order for the beneficiary to receive the funds in the account, this individual will need to present a certified copy of your death certificate, along with valid identification to prove that he or she is the beneficiary.

To name a beneficiary to a totten account, you will need to go to your bank and ask for the appropriate forms, fill them out, and then turn them in at your bank. Be sure that your bank receives these completed forms, as it is not enough to simply fill them out and keep them with your important documents. The bank will need to have this information prior to your death.

It is important to know that you can revoke or change the trust at any time during your life. This means that you can withdraw the trust or change the beneficiary if you need to. If you do not name a beneficiary to your bank accounts, the accounts will go through probate upon your death and the court will decide who will receive your money. If you do name a beneficiary, this person will only have access to your account after your death. The named beneficiary will not have access to your account while you are alive, not even to inquire about the funds in the account.

Upon your death, the beneficiary will be contacted and will typically receive the funds within a short period; the account will not have to go through the probate process.

Contact an Estate Attorney

If you are interested in beginning the estate planning process, contact the estate attorneys at Clear Counsel Law Group. The attorneys at Clear Counsel understand the importance of financial planning and securing your family’s financial well-being. Call today to set up a consultation.


Is Bankruptcy Right for Me?

If you are buried in debt, chances are that you are looking for a way out from under the heavy financial burden. In most cases, individuals in debt are contacted by debt collectors on a daily basis, making life difficult to enjoy. Depending on your circumstances, you may be considering bankruptcy. While this is a viable option for some, there are alternatives to filing bankruptcy that could work better for you.

Before you file for bankruptcy, there are some things you need to be aware of. Most people find the most troubling aspect after filing bankruptcy to be getting approval for various types of loans. Having a bankruptcy on your credit record usually prevents you from being approved for conventional mortgages and car loans, at least for the first few years after filing.

So what are the alternatives to bankruptcy? Depending on how far in debt you are and how much income you have, there are ways to deals with debt issues.

Check Debt Collection Laws

If you are being harassed by debt collectors, it would be best to look into collection laws. Having debt collectors hound you every day can be tiresome and only adds to the stress you already have regarding your debt. If debt collector harassment is your primary concern, bankruptcy is probably not your best option. Look into your legal options and go from there.

Work with Your Creditors

Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be able to make monthly payments to minimize your debt. However, your creditors may be charging you more than you can afford each month. If this is the case, try reaching out to your creditors to negotiate smaller monthly payments. In many cases, creditors will decrease your monthly payment if you have an active repayment history. In the simplest terms, creditors just want their money back and they will likely work with you so that you can pay back what you can, even if it takes longer.

Credit Counseling Assistance

There are non-profit credit and debt counseling agencies out there to assist you in your debt repayment. These agencies help you figure out a repayment plan that works with your income by working with your creditors.

Similar to Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debt counseling will help you pay your debt back over an extended period of time. Debt counseling does have one advantage over Chapter 13: you get assistance with repayment, but you will not have bankruptcy on your credit history.

However, be aware that there are scams out there involving credit counseling agencies. In many cases, these agencies are funded by the very same creditors that you are trying to pay back. There could be a conflict of interest depending on what agency you turn to and who your creditors are.

No Action

In some rare cases, doing absolutely nothing may be your best option if you are deeply buried in debt. If you have minimal income and few valuable assets, you could be considered “judgment proof.” What this means is that if someone were to sue you, they would not be able to collect anything from you because you do not have anything valuable to collect.

Contact an Attorney

If you are carrying significant debt that you can no longer handle, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The attorneys at Clear Counsel Law Group are here to help you figure out the best plan of action for your individual circumstances so that you can get on with your life. Call today to set up an appointment.


How to Leave Assets to Children

How to Leave Assets to Children

When considering wills and inheritances, most people think about adult inheritors, however, there are situations where children will be left with property and other assets. Leaving assets to minor children (under age 18) can be trickier from a legal standpoint, as individuals under 18 are not usually able to understand the complexities that come along with monetary gifts. Even more, some children inherit monetary gifts that involve more intricate planning and management, such as stocks, CDs, real estate, and other investments.

While most people know that it is wise to name a guardian in their will for their minor children, most people do not realize that this named guardian will not automatically be able to manage the children’s inherited money. Once you die, your will goes through probate, at which point a guardian is named for your child. This will usually be the person you name. As for inheritances, the court will be in control of this money–not the guardian–until the child reaches 18. When the child reaches legal age, the court will disburse the inheritance as one lump sum.

Once this child reaches legal age, this money is completely theirs, and unless they are willing to let a trustworthy adult help them manage it, chances are that money will not be managed as well as it could be. While some people may consider opening a custodial account for a minor, this also may not be the best method of leaving money to a child. In custodial accounts, a designated custodian, not the court, will be named to manage the funds. However, all of the money will still be disbursed to the child once they reach legal age.

To avoid money management issues, it may be best to set up a living trust for your child. In your will, you can also name someone who will manage the inheritance until the child takes over. Using this option, the trust will not be handled by the court. Revocable trusts are set up while you are alive and you decide who will inherit the money and at what age. With revocable trusts, the person you choose to manage the money will still have power even if you become incapacitated. (This is not always the case with irrevocable trusts).

All assets that are in a trust are protected from the courts. This is beneficial because court hearings and other legal technicalities can be expensive, thus reducing the value of the inheritance. Trusts also protect the money from irresponsible spending, as you are able to name a trustworthy individual who will manage the money. Even more, assets in trusts are protected from creditors. This is especially important should a divorce proceeding come into the picture.

Seek an Attorney

If you have questions about estate planning or would like to start planning your estate, contact Clear Counsel Law Group to set up a consultation. The attorneys are Clear Counsel know how to help plan estates based on individual needs.


How to Choose the Right Executor for Your Estate

How to Choose the Right Executor for Your Will

When it comes to planning your estate, it is necessary to designate an executor. This person, or institution, will be responsible for clearing all of your debts, as well as carrying out your final wishes. Choosing the executor of your estate is one of the most important decisions regarding estate planning, so careful consideration should be given as to who best would serve this role.

The individual who assumes this responsibility should work diligently and promptly to finalize all of your final earthly matters, as well as allocating assets appropriately to beneficiaries. Even more, ensuring family harmony will be another responsibility of this person, as family friction can be especially high during times of grieving.

Some of the responsibilities of the executor, include:

Filing documents to probate court to ensure the validity of the will (this is typically required by law)

Paying final bills, funeral costs, and taxes with estate funds

Canceling credit cards and notifying government agencies of the death (post office, banks, and Social Security)

Filing final income tax returns

Allocating possessions to the heirs designated in the will

Because of the complexity of an executor’s responsibilities, the person you choose should be well organized, trustworthy, dependable, and good with preparing and filing paperwork.

Who to Choose

Typically, most people will name a family member as the designated executor, usually a spouse or child. In some cases, a close friend could be chosen if you do not have a relative that could take on the role. If the executor you choose lives out of state, be sure to check state laws that may require an out-of-state executor to be a relative. Also keep in mind that third parties can be designated as executors if you do not have a friend or relative that you feel can take on the role, especially if the estate is larger in size.

When choosing an executor, be sure that this person is emotionally capable of fulfilling such an important duty. Some individuals handle death better than others, while others may not be able to take on such a significant responsibility like that of an executor. Always be sure to ask the individual you have chosen if they accept the role, as sometimes individuals do not feel comfortable taking on the associated responsibilities.

Cost of an Executor

If a family member or close friend is designated as the executor, chances are that they will take on the responsibility for free. However, you can set aside a monetary gift for them if you decide to do so. If a third party is designated, such as a bank, this institution will charge a fee that is determined by your state. In most states, the fee will depend on the size of your estate and will range from one to five percent of the estate’s value.

If you have any questions about estate planning or choosing an executor, contact Clear Counsel Law Group to talk with one of our experienced probate attorneys.

7 Ways to Protect Assets from Creditors

7 Ways to Protect Assets from Creditors

When it comes to planning your estate, it is not always easy deciding where your assets will go once you are gone. Not only should you try to reduce your estate taxes as much as you can, it is also important to protect your assets from creditors. But be careful, because some measures to protect your assets may be considered fraudulent under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. If an asset transfer occurs with the intent to defraud or hinder a creditor, it is considered a “fraudulent conveyance.” Below are 7 safe methods you can use to protect transferred assets from being claimed by creditors.

1. Outright gifts – By giving an outright gift to an heir, it is protected from creditors. However, be aware that you will lose control over the asset, including all economic interest.

2. Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs) – Limited partnerships within a family means that each partner pays taxes independently of each other. So when assets are involved, when one of the partners die, the assets left to the limited partner will be more difficult for creditors to access to cover debts. Only the limited partner’s interest can be reached by creditors in most cases.

3. Inter Vivos qualified terminable interest property – This trust is to be created for your spouse while you are alive. Once created, it qualifies for the gift tax marital deduction. When your spouse dies, the QTIP trust will be a part of his/her estate. If your spouse does not have enough assets to cover federal estate taxes, only then will the QTIP assets be used to fulfill taxes.

In the case that you survive your spouse, the QTIP assets that you established for your spouse will now fund a family trust. This amount will be equal to the estate tax exemption, which is currently $1.5 million. Any assets left over after this transfer will be assigned to you under the marital trust law, and because it qualifies for the marital deduction, there will be no federal estate tax on these assets at the time of your spouse’s death.

Because assets that enter a family trust do not qualify for estate taxes, it is beneficial to set up your QTIP trust in this manner. This structure protects your assets from creditors because assets moved to a family trust for a surviving spouse’s benefit are not subject to federal estate taxes. This is because these family trust assets are not legally part of the surviving spouse’s estate.

4. Irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs) – For federal estate tax purposes, insurance proceeds in ILITs are not considered part of your estate. This trust protects insurance proceeds during and after your death from creditors.

5. Qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs) – With a QPRT, you can transfer a residence, either primary or vacation, to a living trust. With this trust, you reserve the right to live in the residence for a set number of years that is determined by using IRS tables. The “remainder interest,” the amount of time that you can remain living in the residence, is calculated by taking the value of the property, minus your term interest’s value. The QPRT protects a residence from the gift tax through your $1 million gift tax exemption.

6. Charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) – In this type of trust, a percentage of assets are provided to a “grantor” annually for his/her lifetime. When the grantor dies, his or her spouse will become the CRT annuitant for the remainder of his or her lifetime. After both grantors have passed, the remaining CRT assets are given to charity under the “remainder interest” qualification.

7. Grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) – With a GRAT, a donor makes a donation into a trust. For the remainder of the fixed term of this trust, the donor will receive an annual payment. Once this term has ended, selected beneficiaries will receive any remaining value of the trust as a gift.

Estate planning is very complex. Protecting yourself and your family should be your top priority, so speak with an experienced probate attorney at Clear Counsel to discuss your options.


Why and How to Avoid Probate

Why and How to Avoid Probate

When a person dies, his or her assets are going to need to be distributed one way or another, as well as debts paid. While a will is usually there to determine who receives what, sometimes a will is never created. If this is the case, the court will decide how assets are to be allocated.

Why to Avoid Probate

Probate can be slow – Probate is not usually a quick process, as it is handled through the court system. In simple cases, probate can be completed in as little as six months, however it can sometimes take up to a year to be settled. If an individual has a complicated estate or someone in the family contests the will, the probate process can be drawn out to two or more years. Because the probate process can be time consuming, it often creates tension within family members who are named in the will to receive inheritances or other assets.

Probate can be expensive – What many people do not realize is that probate is not free. The court takes a percentage of the estate’s worth to handle the costs of the probate process. In some cases, probate courts need to hire lawyers to protect minor children’s inherited assets. While each state charges differently for probate fees, it is generally expensive to go through the probate process at all; in fact, the probate fee can be as much as 10% of the estate.

Probate is public – Because the probate process goes through the court system, any information involving an estate becomes public record. If someone in the public chooses to, they can search these records to see what an estate consisted of. What this means is that whatever assets were left and distributed is public knowledge. So for instance, if you inherited gold coins from your grandma, people can find this out through public records. The availability of this information can make individuals targets for burglaries.

How to Avoid Probate

While most people instinctively create a will to name heirs, there are other methods of distributing valuable assets and property upon death. Instead of developing a will, a living trust can be established. A living trust allocates assets and property in a private manner that will entirely bypass the probate process. There are no probate fees or unwanted publicity regarding assets and property. When a living trust is created, a trustee is named and will be in charge of managing the assets of the trust. This trustee will notify the beneficiaries of their inherited assets and will allocate as necessary. And because a living trust does not need to go through probate, the process to distribute valuable assets will be much quicker than if a will was used.

Contact an Estate Attorney

If you would like to know more about living trusts, contact the estate attorneys at Clear Counsel Law Group. The attorneys at Clear Counsel understand that your family’s security is your number one priority, and would like to help you create a secure way to manage your assets and property. Call today to set up a consultation.


The Difference between Compensatory and Punitive Damages

The Difference between Compensatory and Punitive Damages

The purpose of personal injury claims and lawsuits is to both hold someone responsible for damages to someone else caused by negligence, and to make that someone pay for those damages.   Negligence claims need to prove each of those elements in order to succeed; negligence, damages and causation.  If they are proven to the trier of the law then what remains is a determination of damages, how much are the elements of the damage worth in monetary terms?

We cannot go back in time and undo an act of negligence that might have caused injury to someone, we can only offer an equitable solution by way of civil litigation.  Once a negligence claim is determined to be valid, the court must then award an amount of money to fairly, in the eyes of the law, compensate the wronged party for their damages they suffered.

There are two types of damage awards; compensatory and punitive.  As a matter of public policy, the court must evaluate the behavior of the negligent party and financially punish them in a way that makes sense, taking into account the entire circumstances and mitigating factors of the negligent act or omission and the repercussions of that negligence.

Compensatory Damages

Cases that involve ordinary negligence, or ‘accidents’ most likely will be treated with an award of compensatory damages.  Compensatory damages would be an amount to make the injured party whole or as whole as possible, given the nature of the injuries.  Someone who loses a leg in a car accident, for example, cannot be given their leg back, however, the court may award enough money for a prosthetic limb and significant rehabilitation and other calculable damages.

Compensatory damages come in the form of payment for economic damages as well as non-economic damages.  Economic damages are losses that involve money; medical bills, income loss, property loss, essential service requirements, legal fees and other losses where money is spent or lost only because of the injuries resulting from the negligence.   Non-economic losses are more intangible, therefore, more difficult to determine.  Non-economic damages include emotional distress, pain, discomfort and suffering from the injuries sustained as well as any physical impairment and/or visible scarring.  Compensation may also be considered for inability to enjoy one’s hobby as before, or even the inability to act as ‘husband and wife’ due to injuries sustained by negligence.

Compensatory awards are the more common type of awards as the civil courts are generally thought to be the ‘courts of equity’.  Compensatory damages are more conservative in nature and not used to punish the negligent party as the act or omission was determined to be ordinary in nature.  For someone who is experiencing chronic pain from a negligent act, compensatory damages may seem to fall short of the mark from their prospective.  Judges and juries rarely offer further damage awards unless there are findings of a more serious negligence.

Punitive Damages

There are times when the negligence of a person rises to the category of gross carelessness or willful and wanton behavior.  It is for these more serious acts or omissions that punitive damages are considered and possibly awarded.


These are damages that can be awarded to an injured person in addition to any compensatory damage award.   Punitive damages are meant as a punishment.  The liable party is meant to ‘feel’ the loss of money as a real and lasting act of retribution propagated by the court system.  The facts of the case must demonstrate that there was willful disregard for the safety of the injured party and maybe the safety of others.

Punitive damages also are meant to send a message to the public at large.  The size of the award is in many instances equal to the disdain the court holds for that type of negligence the liable party was found responsible for.  Public safety may be at issue and others who might be engaging in, or likely to engage in, the same negligent behavior are put on notice that the courts do not approve of those actions and the courts will punish those who engage in them.

Punitive damage awards are not ordinary, yet they do make the news occasionally as the amount of money awarded can be very large and at times seem ‘over-the-top’.   A personal injury attorney would be able to assist an injured person in their claim for damages and help in determining if these facts would lead to a punitive damage award in addition to compensatory damages.

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