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When are Punitive Damages the Answer?

Colorado law allows for "punitive" or "exemplary" damages in certain cases.  These are damages to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct.  Punitive damages are not ony to deter that kind of conduct by the wrongdoer, but to send a message to the entire community, deterring others from needlessly endangering the lives and safety of others.  It is the ANSWER if we want to make our community a safer place and protect ourselves and our families. 

Drunk driving is an easy case for punitive damages.  The law says that anytime one commits "reckless" conduct, punitive damages are appropriate.  Texting and driving, leaving the scene of an injury accident, driving under the influence of drugs, road rage--all of these are good examples of where punitive damages are the answer.  Why bother?  Because if we didn't punish people or comanies for reckless conduct, we would still have the Ford Pinto that blew up when it was rear-ended, the pharmaceutical company would still be lying to people that drugs like FenPhen was all natual and didn't cause heart attacks, that asbestos was safe and didn't cause cancer, or that an insurance company can deny your claim for no good reason, leaving without the security you purchased.  Punitive damages keep companies in check and make our world a safer place by deterring insidious behavior.

Recently, in our own community, Marcy Quintana was left to die when Angel Nieto abandonded her after a hit and run collision, according to the Valley Courier.  http://www.alamosanews.com/v2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=72&story_id=44315

This may be a good case for punitive damages.

Just a few weeks ago, Pat Lucero was killed by reckless driving of passing over a double yellow line on icy roads over La Veta pass.  http://www.alamosanews.com/v2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=72&story_id=44074

Jury verdicts that award punitive damages are the ANSWER for this type of behavior.  The next victim could be you or your child, your mother, your sister or spouse.  A message needs sent that our society will not tolerate this kind of behavior.

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Vance & Larson Law Firm
319 Ross Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101

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