Differences Between Compensatory and Punitive Damage Awards

When an individual is injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident and someone else is at fault; that person can reasonably expect to be compensated for costs related to the injury. These costs can include medical bills, damaged property, lost wages and other practical expenses that result from the accident. Money awarded by the court for these types of expenses, through the process of a personal injury lawsuit, are called compensatory damages.

However, seriously or permanently injured accident victims may want to consider making a petition for punitive damages as well. This type of compensation is awarded when the person who caused the accident was grossly negligent in some way, for example, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and the victim experiences emotional pain and suffering as well as physical trauma.

Emotional pain and suffering awards can potentially be significantly larger than some compensatory damages, but many factors can affect the outcome and award amount. The definition of pain and suffering has a relatively limited scope, but can include permanent disability, disfigurement, loss of companionship or significantly reduced the quality of life.

In California, for an accident victim to be awarded punitive damages, certain standards must be met. For compensatory awards, the level of proof required to win a personal injury lawsuit is by a preponderance of the evidence. That means that if it can be shown that is more likely than not that the defendant caused the accident, then they will be found guilty and must pay the compensatory award amount set by the court.

For punitive damages to be awarded, it must be shown by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant not only caused the accident but also showed malice or careless disregard for the safety and welfare of others through their actions.

Even with these fairly standardized guidelines, personal injury cases involving motor vehicles can be quite complex. There are some other factors, beyond the level of proof required, that can affect the outcome.

An attorney who is familiar with and knowledgeable about the complex laws surrounding personal injury in California can help injured victims understand their rights and evaluate the viability of a cased based on the available evidence. That’s why an experienced and professional California personal injury lawyer from the law offices of Guldjian Law APC may be able to assist victims by providing information regarding resources that can help accident victims recover from the emotional fallout.

Sources: http://www.remappingdebate.org/california-civil-code-%C2%A7-3294-exemplary-damages-when-allowable-definitions

Bremerton DUI Victim Will Received $1.3 Million in Civil Settlement

26-year-old Andrew O’Brien was a victim of a fatal DUI accident that occurred September 10th of last year in Bremerton, Washington. He and a friend, Alana Kemppainen, were out celebrating at a bar that night when they decided to walk home instead of driving. As the two were walking home, they were hit by a drunk driver. The impact had killed Alana and severely injured Andrew, putting him into a coma for two months.

The drunk driver was identified as the lead singer of a well-known local band, Dan Krogman. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI the night of the accident. Authorities stated that Krogman had consumed two pints of beer and a few double shots of vodka. Krogman went on to say that he drove because “he felt that he was the least intoxicated person in the group.”

O’Brian has no recollection of the night of the accident. Andrew had to learn how to walk again because of the traumatic brain damage he sustained in the crash. O’Brian plans to participate in a Mothers Against Drunk Driving charity walk with Kemppainen’s family.

Drunk driving is not taken lightly in the state of Washington; Washington is well-known for it’s strict penalties and fines. If you have been arrested for DUI in Seattle and are in need of a DUI attorney, contact our dedicated attorneys at Dellino Law Group today.

San Bernardino Police Arrest Man Suspected of Hit-and-Run That Killed Young Boy

Jose Vasquez was arrested by San Bernardino Police Wednesday morning and is currently in jail awaiting trial for the hit-and-run resulting in the death of 2-year-old Jonathan Montes. California Highway Patrol officers stated that Jose Vasquez was driving through Perris Hill Road in San Bernardino going 40 mph in a 25 mph zone when he hit 2-year-old Jonathan who was playing outside in the street with his 5-year-old brother.

After Vasquez had hit Jonathan, he kept driving and didn’t stop to give aid to the young boy nor did he attempt to contact the authorities. Officials stated that Vasques was afraid and did not have a California driver’s license. Vasque has also been arrested in the past for prior drug offenses.

A neighborhood business surveillance video gave investigators some insight how the accident when down. Officers stated they could see the silver Toyota Echo that Vasquez was driving that evening.

County prosecutors will overview the case and decide if there is enough sufficient evidence to issue criminal charges against Vasquez.

It’s a tragedy that young Jonathan had his life taken from him, California drivers need to follow laws and pay attention when they are driving.  May if Vasquez was following the speed limit, 2-year-old Jonathan would still be here with us today.

If you or a loved one have been injured in car accident in San Bernardino County, contact our experienced San Bernardino car accident attorney today.

Chesterfield County Accident Leaves Man and Woman Injured

A collision involving two cars sent two people to the hospital Tuesday Evening in Colonial Heights.

The Chesterfield County accident occurred at 15928 Jefferson Davis Highway in a Family Dollar parking lot. According to Virginia Police, an elderly man who was driving a Chevrolet HHR experienced a medical occurrence that caused him to crash into three vehicles and hit a woman who happened to be walking in the parking lot.

Multiple witnesses said the Chevrolet collided with a Nissan Altima then a Honda CRV causing the CRV to hit the pedestrian in the Family Dollar parking lot.

A local witness, Trina Shaw, said she saw the entire incident unfold, and she is still in “shock.”

“He hit that car, and that car hit the woman. And it threw her up against the wall of the building,” she added.

The Chevrolet, after hitting the Honda, then hit a Jeep Patriot that was parked, causing the Jeep to collide through a gate and roll downhill and hit a wire to a Dominion poll, stopping vehicles before the car entered traffic on Jefferson Davis Highway.

“It happened so fast; I was hoping nobody was in that SUV,” Shaw shared. “He was looking crazy like something was wrong, so I knew it had to be something medically related.”

The elderly man driving the Chevrolet and the pedestrian hit by the Honda CRV were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. It hasn’t been released whether victims will press charges; it is also unknown if the man shouldn’t have been driving under his condition or if he will be charged with any traffic violations in Chesterfield County.

Considering last year Virginia experienced 120,282 car crashes, it’s a miracle this three vehicle collision, pedestrian injury, and Highway stopping incident didn’t involve a death. Last year’s traffic injuries added up to over 63 thousand. That averages to two injuries per crash in Virginia’s 2014.

Man Sentenced To Serve 12 Years in Prison For Fatal DUI Accident In Hanover, Virginia

Tuesday morning Hanover Circuit Judge J. Overton Harris sentenced 32-year-old Donald Johnson of Hanover to serve 12 years in prison.  Johnson pleaded no contest to two felonies, he was charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter and maiming. His blood-alcohol lever was three times over the legal limit in the state of Virginia.

Around October 2013, Johnson was driving under the influence in Hanover when he lost control of his vehicle near Bell Creek Road and veered across Highway 150, colliding head-on with another car.  The driver of the car was identified as 74-year-old Myrtle Duling who was head home with her daughter after visiting her husband in a rehabilitation center.  She passed away a few days after the accident took place while in operation at a local medical center.  Her 54-year-old daughter was riding in the passenger seat, she also suffered from multiple sclerosis.  As her system weakened and stresses from her injuries, she pass away a few months  later.

Myrtle’s husband is now without his wife of 57 years, Warren Duling struggled in court for words, “She was my best friend for 57 years. We married when she was 17,” Warren stated.  “I wouldn’t wish on anybody.” He said.

If you or a loved on have been affected by a DUI-related accident, contact the attorneys at the Law Office of Gregory R. Hough today.


Fatal Accident in Maryland Ends Five Virginia Family Members

Authorities are now investigating an accident that occurred in Wye Mills, Maryland involving a car and a semi-truck early Saturday morning.

A family of five were traveling from Virginia to attend a baby shower in Maryland that was being thrown for a pregnant passenger when their car collided with a tractor-trailer.  The accident occurred at a Route 50  intersection near Chesapeake College.

All five occupants of the car consisted of 24-year-old Regina Ayres, 7-year-old daughter Jordan, two-month-old son Jonathan, as well as Regina’s 24-year-old boyfriend Travis Straton.  Regina was with child when the accident took place, she and her unborn child died at a hospital in Easton, Maryland.

The truck driver was transported by air to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore stated officials.

Investigators have found no signs of alcohol or drug involved in the accident.  There are no words that can describe how tragic this accident. If or a loved one have been affected by a traffic accident, contact our Richmond car accident attorneys today.

Man Pleads Not Guilty After Fatal Accident In San Diego

20-year-old Antony Schoenle lays in bed at UC San Diego Medical Center after he escaped a fiery car crash in the San Diego area that killed two of his passengers.  He is being charged with two counts gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing great bodily harm.

According to authorities, Antony was driving a Dodge Stratus with two other female passengers, Guadalupe Amado, and Lizette Gracia, and a dog.  Prosecutor’s stated that he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs consisting of cocaine and marijuana that he had consumed during a twelve-hour period before the accident.

Antony was traveling southbound on Friars Road when he lost control and drove off the road around the Pacific Highway overpass. He then struck a curb that sent the vehicle into the air and down an embankment, where it collided with a pillar and soon caught on fire.

Prosecutor Deputy District Attorney Steven Schott stated that Antony got out of the vehicle by climbing over Garcia “whom he described in an interview later as “dead weight,” then proceed to flee to another vehicle.  Prosecutor Schott also stated that Antony Schoenle wanted to leave the scene.

Antony Schoenle’s preliminary test revealed that he had a blood-alcohol content of .09 percent, two hours after the crash occurred. San Diego Superior Court Judge Fraser set Antony Schoenle’s bail at $2,000,000.

Car Crash Ends With Wife Airlifted And Best Man Dead

Newlyweds Eric Stein and his wife Ksenia were on their was to his brother’s wedding rehearsal dinner in Agoura Hills, California when they were involved in a fatal car accident.  Eric was the best man in his brothers but unfortunately, he did not survive.

The accident occurred around 5:00 p.m. along Kanan Dume Road and Mulholland Highway July 31.  Eric was driving his Ford Focus with his wife when they collided with an L.A. County Fire Department crew vehicle that was carrying 13 female inmates from Malibu’s Fire Camp 13.  Malibu Fire Camp 13 is where inmates assist with fire relief efforts.  Eric was trying to make a left turn onto Saddle Rock Ranch where the rehearsal dinner was held when the crew vehicle slammed into the driver side of the Ford Focus, dragging the newlyweds off the road.

Authorities pronounced Eric dead at the scene of the accident while Ksenia was transported by airlift to a nearby medical center.

Eric’s family is now stating that the firefighters did not give Eric any time to react and we negligent.  Neighbors  Sharp asked NBC Los Angeles, “Regardless of the emergency the firemen were in, how fast do you need to go? How fast is it to being safe to where things are going to turn bad on the way?”

Los Angeles County Fire Department cannot comment because of the ongoing investigation but have released their condolences on behalf of the unfortunate death of Eric Stein.

It’s a tragedy that the two newlyweds were killed that night. Car accidents not only affect those involved, but families and friends suffer the loss of a loved one. If you have been affected by a car accident in California, contact our dedicated California injury attorneys today.



Suspect Arrested After Man Shot inside of Parked Car in Seattle

Early Sunday morning Seattle Police stated that they have arrested a suspect related to a shooting that took place around the 1200 block of South Main Street.

Seattle Police Detective Mark Jamieson stated that the 21-year-old suspect was detained at his residence and later booked into Kin County Jail.  Other suspects are still at large.

According to investigators, three males approached a car that had several people inside when a fight broke out. Everyone was outside of the car except for the victim.  The victim was shot three times while he was sitting in the car.

He was later transported to Harborview Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries later that day.

If you have been arrested for a crime and are now facing charges, contact the attorneys at Dellino Law Group today

Learning from the DUI Experiences of Others in Seattle

Everyone knows that driving after you’ve had too much to drink is not a good idea. Not only can it cause dangerous, potentially even fatal accidents, but someone driving under the influence or committing the grave criminal offense best known by the acronym DUI, could also be caught by the police and arrested. It happens all the time in Seattle.

Marco Pappa, midfielder for Seattle Sounders arrested for DUI, speeding on July 19, 2015

That was the recent headline, disclosing that the young up-and-coming soccer player had been arrested in the early hours of that Sunday morning for speeding and DUI. As a result, Pappa was suspended from Major League Soccer play until he could be evaluated. The young player reportedly has a clean driving record in Washington State; however, the legal results of his arrest remain pending.

The coach has urged the team to support their suspended teammate. Following a DUI arrest in Seattle, few people are so lucky, given the severity of the charges and the possible outcome for people who don’t have this kind of support system in place. Pappa is lucky by any comparative standards.

Prominent candidate for Seattle City Council pleaded guilty to DUI

Candidate Debora Juarez pleaded guilty to DUI back in 2012, following a car crash that sent her vehicle careening into a guardrail and causing severe damage to the front end of the car. Her blood-alcohol content (BAC) was nearly double the legal limit. She received a sentence of five years of probation and was ordered to pay $595 in fines, but managed to avoid jail time. Nonetheless, her brush with the law may cost Juarez on election day.

In a public statement, Juarez took responsibility for her actions and admitted that she should not have been behind the wheel that night. Many people arrested for DUI in Seattle have that realization later, only after the damage is done. Following her arrest Juarez contacted a lawyer, which undoubtedly helped her get through the process that followed and not spend any time behind bars for the arrest.

If you should ever find yourself under arrest for DUI, remember the lessons taught by these two stories: support is outstanding and a lawyer can help you avoid jail. Our criminal defense law group in Seattle can provide numerous benefits to you through active, competent representation and navigating the system in such a way as to minimize the negative consequences of a DUI arrest.