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Are Punitive Damages Available in a Texas Car Accident Case?


Texas does allow punitive damages to be awarded in auto accident lawsuits provided that certain requirements are met. The most important is the plaintiff is able to establish that the defendant acted with gross negligence.

In order for punitive damages to be awarded, there must first be actual damages. Actual damages are things like medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of wages. Without actual damages, punitive damages cannot occur.

Second, you must be able to demonstrate that the defendant acted with gross negligence. This means showing:

  • That a reasonable person in the same situation as the defendant would have known that their behavior or conduct involved an extreme degree of risk.
  • That the defendant knew of the risk but acted with disregard.

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