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Intentional Acts Can Effect Value of a Personal Injury Claim

Dan Brian   |  July 9, 2015   |  

An article on WRAL.com explores an auto accident that occurred on Thursday where a Sanford woman allegedly intentionally struck her boyfriend with her vehicle.  Intentional acts can have a serious effect on a bodily injury claim.  An individual who acts recklessly can be held liable not only for compensatory damages, but also for punitive damages.  Compensatory damages are intended to compensate a victim for being in an accident.  This includes things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  But individuals who act intentionally or recklessly can also be held liable for punitive damages, which are paid to the victim, but which are not intended to compensate the victim.  Rather, punitive damages are intended to punish the perpetrator, and to deter reckless conduct.

Intentional Bad Acts

Intentional acts can also serve to limit recovery however.  Most insurance policies have exclusions noting that they will not cover intentional bad acts.  This can be a tricky subject.  For example, a person might intend to speed, but did the person also intend to collide with someone?  A driver might intend to threaten someone and drive towards them, but did they intend to strike them?

Another factor is that North Carolina law requires auto insurance companies to provide certain minimum levels of coverage.  This generally means that an insurance company must still offer some coverage (up to $30,000 per person, and $60,000 per accident) even if the injury was intentional.

Our lawyers are experienced with these issues and are happy to discuss by phone.