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What Are Damages for “Recklessness” in California Personal Injury Cases?

“Recklessness” involves a deliberate disregard of a high degree of probability that an injury or fatality will occur. It’s beyond negligence, inadvertence or utter incompetence. It’s a conscious choice of wrongdoing, but it doesn’t quite approach an intentional act. When a person is alleged to have been reckless, it’s a jury that will make the decision of whether he or she behaved in such a manner.

California Civil Jury Instruction 3113 addresses recklessness as a high probability that a person’s conduct would cause harm, and he or she knowingly disregarded this risk. It’s “more than just the failure to use reasonable care.” An example of recklessness might be driving through a marked school zone while intoxicated at the time that school is finished for the day.

If you or a loved one have been injured to the recklessness of another person, corporation or other entity, contact us today for a free consultation and we will explain your rights to you.

Damages in Cases Involving Recklessness

The usual and customary personal injury damages can be sought in a case alleging recklessness. Those might consist of the following:

  • Past and future medical bills.
  • Past and future lost earnings or diminished earnings.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Any permanent disfigurement or disability.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Other valuable damages in the event of a wrongful death.

Punitive Damages and Recklessness

Punitive damages are also known as exemplary damages. They’re not only intended to penalize a defendant, but they’re also intended to make an example out of him or her and discourage others from participating in the same behavior. California Civil Code section 3294 permits a jury to award punitive damages if there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s conduct was malicious, oppressive or fraudulent. Clear and convincing evidence is a very high probability that something is true. It’s something more than a preponderance of the evidence that something is likely true, but something less than beyond a reasonable doubt. Subsection (c)(1) of section 3294 defines malicious as conduct which is intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.”

How are Punitive Damages Calculated?

There are no caps on punitive damages in California. Any award of punitive damages in a recklessness case in the state must be reasonable in relation to the following considerations:

  • The nature and extent of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff.
  • The total sum of the personal injury damages awarded by the jury.

Contact a California Damages for Recklessness in Personal Injury Cases Lawyer Today

If you were injured, or you lost a family member as a result of a person’s or entity’s conscious and reckless disregard of the safety for others, you’ll want to speak with a dedicated and aggressive California personal injury lawyer at Maison Law as soon as you can. We’ll be pleased to arrange for a confidential case consultation and review at no cost at all to you about any accident anywhere in California. An award of punitive damages can substantially increase any compensation that you receive in a personal injury case.

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