2051 Dauphin Street, Mobile, Alabama 36606
Law Office of J. Allan Brown
Free Consultation

Understanding Punitive Damages in Alabama Personal Injury Cases

Punitive Damages Personal Injury Lawyer Mobile al

“Punitive” describes compensatory damages awarded in a personal injury case. As it suggests, punitives are intended to punish the defendant when its conduct is especially egregious. The punishment is intentional to deter such actions in the future.

In a Mobile, Alabama, personal injury case, punitive damages, not criminal damages, can be awarded in a civil lawsuit. The purpose is not to enrich the injured but to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are typically seen when a defendant’s business or corporation exhibits a reckless disregard for the safety of others or exhibits intentional and malicious behavior. That is a high bar to reach.

Punitive damages are distinct from compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are awarded in a personal injury case to compensate the plaintiff for their actual losses, such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages, both now and in the future. Compensatory damages are sometimes referred to as pain and suffering, intended to make the injured whole again.

Punitive damages represent an additional penalty and may exceed the compensatory damages. We often see this when a corporation has carelessly injured someone through its negligence.

There is a cap on punitive damages, however. Under Alabama law, they may not exceed three times the amount a jury gives for compensatory damages or $1.5 million, whichever is greater. However, if the defendant knowingly committed fraud or intentionally hid or destroyed evidence, the cap goes away.

When Punitive Damages Are Awarded

Wrongful Death – Under Alabama law, punitive damages are the only compensation that can be awarded in a wrongful death case. When a hospital, doctor, or clinic is negligent or delivers substandard care, and the patient dies, a wrongful death claim can be filed by a personal injury attorney.

The lawsuit must be filed within two years of the death. The personal representative of the deceased’s estate must bring the action. Attorney J. Allan Brown understands how to help a grieving family bring forth such an action.

Car Accident – If a driver intentionally hits another car, a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or a motorcyclist with their vehicle, we may bring a personal injury claim that could result in punitive damages.

Intoxicated Driver– When a driver who is intoxicated intentionally gets behind the wheel and injures or kills a person, punitive damages may be awarded by the court or jury.

Knowingly Selling a Defective Product – Whether a defective automobile or medical device, when someone or a business puts a defective product into commerce and it is likely to hurt or kill someone, that personal injury case may end with the awarding of punitive damages.

Police Misconduct – When police use excessive force, particularly if there is a pattern of such activity, if police planted evidence, did not have probable cause, or conducted racial profiling, and their activities result in injuries, punitive damages may be sought from the officers or their department.

Under Alabama Code, Section 6-11-20, Punitive Damages can only be awarded when there is, “clean and convincing evidence proven.” Punitive damages cannot be awarded in just any civil lawsuit.

There must be “a wrongful death when the defendant consciously or deliberately engaged in oppression, fraud, wantonness, or malice with regard to the plaintiff.”

Prosecutors will be looking for:

Oppression – where the plaintiff was subjected to cruel and unjust hardship

Wantonness – with a conscious and reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others

Malice – or an intentional wrongful act without just cause or excuse

Fraud – which can include an intentional misrepresentation, deceit, or concealment of a material fact, which was gross, oppressive, or malicious and committed with the intention on the part of the defendant to deprive the plaintiff of her property or legal rights.


Your Mobile Alabama Personal Injury Attorney

Mobile Personal Injury Lawyer J. Allan Brown has been practicing accident and injury law for decades. Whether a medical malpractice case or a car accident, when you are due damages from the at-fault party, Mr. Brown understands that preparing his case is essential.

In Alabama, the negligent party must be identified to win compensation for your injuries. The insurance adjuster will almost always blame the person seeking compensation, but Mr. Brown thoroughly knows how to fight those claims to his client’s advantage.

Attorney Brown will offer you a complimentary review of your case when you call his Mobile, Alabama office at (251)-473-6691.


US Justia Law

J. Allan Brown, LLC
Law Office of J. Allan Brown, LLC, is located in Mobile, AL and serves clients in and around Mobile, Bucks, Satsuma, Eight Mile, Semmes, Spanish Fort, Citronelle, Theodore, Saraland, Montrose, Irvington, Saint Elmo, Wilmer, Point Clear, Grand Bay, Chunchula, Fairhope, Creola, Bayou La Batre, Axis, Coden, Bay Minette, Silverhill, Baldwin County and Mobile County.
Sundown Marketing

© 2014 - 2024 Law Office of J. Allan Brown, LLC. All rights reserved.
This is a Sundown Legal Marketing law firm website.

Contact Form Tab