Are punitive damages available in Virginia cases where I am hit by a texting driver?
Texting has certainly become a major problems on the roads. But you probably cannot get punitive damages from the other driver under Virginia law.
“Punitive damages” are damages that are designed to punish drivers. They are compensation for injured victims over and above the medical bills, lost wages, and pain, suffering, and inconvenience that would be available in a typical case. Punitive damages are reserved for accidents caused by drunk drivers.
Punitive damages are also available when a person has intentionally caused an injury or demonstrated such a willful and wanton attitude toward whether or not they caused injury that punishment is appropriate. The vast majority of texting cases do not rise to this level. A driver who is texting might be negligent, but they are probably not out there intentionally trying to hurt you.