In most trucking accidents, the damages you can expect to receive include pain and suffering, medical expenses, and automobile repair expenses. However, there are some cases where you may also be entitled to punitive damages. These damages are awarded when the accident was partially or fully intentional and the courts wish to punish the driver.

Malicious Behavior

Just like everyone else, a truck driver can suffer from road rage. When road rage gets the better of a truck driver, he or she might drive aggressively or may even deliberately attempt to cause an accident. Another malicious action is if the truck driver took steps to destroy evidence.

Reckless Behavior

In other cases, a truck driver might drive in a very reckless manner. For example, the truck driver might drive on the wrong side of the road to get to a destination more quickly and collide with your vehicle. If you can prove recklessness or maliciousness, you may be able to receive punitive damages.

Failure to Follow Regulations

Commercial truck drivers are held to higher standards. No motorists are allowed to drink and drive, and commercial truck drivers are no different. But drivers are also required to follow various regulations. For example, there are restrictions on how many hours a commercial truck driver can be on the road. Drivers are also required to proactively maintain their trucks and do not drive a vehicle that has been found unsafe to drive.

Background Checks

In some cases, the trucking company that the driver works for may face punitive damages. For example, if the commercial truck driver was fired from his or her previous job due to drunk driving, the trucking company would be responsible for performing an adequate background check to identify this and pass the driver as a candidate. 

Higher Standards for Truck Drivers

Punitive damages can be much greater in the case of a commercial truck driver. Because trucks are much larger and can cause a lot more damage, the courts are more likely to award much larger damages. However, while liability cases are based on the preponderance of the evidence, to be awarded punitive damages, you must have clear evidence of egregious conduct.

Therefore, it's possible to seek damages for both negligence and malicious behavior and only be awarded damages for negligence if there is insufficient evidence. Because punitive damages are more difficult to prove, you should always work with a truck accident attorney.