What Are Punitive Damages? A Brief Guide

Are you seeking legal advice? Have you suffered from a personal injury on the job? Do you want to file a lawsuit?

After suffering from a workplace injury, you may be thinking of seeking payment for damages. You likely have questions on your mind, such as, “what are punitive damages?” and “what are compensatory damages?”

If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, read this brief guide to punitive damages, what they are, and how they can help your case.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are a type of damage awarded to punish the person who caused the injury and prevent that person from engaging in egregious behavior in the future.

They are not typically awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were merely negligent. It is usually awarded in cases where the plaintiff has suffered physical or financial harm due to the defendant’s actions.

They are typically capped at a certain amount, which varies from state to state. In some cases, the court may award punitive damages significantly higher than the actual damages the plaintiff has suffered.

Punitive damages are not typically awarded in criminal cases. However, there are some exceptions, such as when the defendant has been convicted of a crime related to the underlying civil case.

How Are Punitive Damages Different from Compensatory Damages?

Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant. They are awarded in addition to compensatory damages and are not capped in most jurisdictions. Compensatory damages, on the other hand, are capped at the amount of the victim’s losses.

You may be entitled to punitive damages if someone else’s recklessness or misconduct has harmed you. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assess your claim and tell you the best course of action.

You may be also entitled to punitive damages if an insurance company delays or avoids paying your legitimate claim. Read more here if you’re facing this problem.

Evidence Used to Establish Punitive Damages

The evidence must be that the defendant’s actions were willful or reckless. This means that the defendant knew their actions were likely to cause harm to the plaintiff and proceeded anyway.

This can be proven through various methods, such as testimony from witnesses, documentation, or video footage.

How Punitive Damages Are Calculated

Punitive damages can be challenging to calculate, as no set formula exists.

Instead, Judges consider the severity of the defendant’s conduct, the harm suffered by the plaintiff, and the defendant’s wealth when determining the number of punitive damages.

As a result, punitive damages can vary widely from case to case. The goal is to choose a punitive damages award high enough to punish the defendant but not so lofty that it would be considered a windfall.

Understanding Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and convey that such behavior will not be tolerated. They are often awarded in cases where the defendant engaged in egregious conduct, such as when they harmed the plaintiff.

If you’ve been harmed by another’s actions and believe you may be entitled to punitive damages, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case.

We hope that we have answered the question of what are punitive damages. Check out the rest of our blog for more informative content for all your legal updates.