If the driver of the car was texting or engaging in some other illegal activity like driving under the influence of alcohol, then in addition to the compensation you’d receive for your injuries, the jury may impose punitive damages for the bicycle accident. Punitive damages go above the compensation necessary to compensate the bicyclist for his or her injuries. The purpose of punitive damages is to send a message to the driver and to the community that engaging in illegal activities will not be tolerated. Punitive damages punish the driver and serve as a deterrent to that driver and other drivers.