Punitive damages are rare in the ordinary car wreck case . The exception is in the tractor trailer truck accidents . These truck companies are overseeing these big trucks that travel our interstate system . The truck companies may be liable for punitive damages in certain cases .
The Tennessee Supreme Court revised the quidelines for puntive damages cases in the case of Hodges v. S.C. Toof and Co. The nuts and bolts of the case is simple . In order to establish a claim for puntive damages , the plaintiff must establish by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has acted intentionally , fraudulently , maliciously , or recklessly . Punitive damages is not to compensate but to punish and deter conduct by the defendant .