Punitive Damages: When They Are Awarded

Have you have suffered an injury due to the gross negligence of another party? If so, you may be able to receive compensation for damages. There are numerous kinds of damages that one can receive as the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit. Punitive damages are one of these types. This article will address punitive damages and how they might be awarded.

Punitive Damages

If a plaintiff is the winner of a lawsuit against a company that caused their injury, it could be likely that the plaintiff will be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded if the defendant has engaged in behavior that was grossly negligent.

If you win your case, damages will be awarded to you in an effort to compensate you for losses that occurred because of your injury. This is normally what damages are intended for.

This is not the case with punitive damages. Punitive damages are given with the sole intent of punishing the defendant. Punitive damages are intended to deter the type of behavior that created your injury.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?

Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases. Some states actually do not allow punitive damages to be awarded.

If the defendant in your case engaged in behavior that was particularly reckless or wrong, you may be awarded punitive damages. The court must be convinced that the behavior was extreme enough to warrant punishment.

An example of extreme behavior would be a restaurant that recklessly disregards the sanitation of their food. If one of the customers becomes seriously ill as a result of eating at the restaurant, they will have a good case against the restaurant.

If it is found that the management of the restaurant knew that they were not handling the food properly, it’s possible that their behavior would be considered egregious.

There are several components that can decide whether or not you will be entitled to punitive damages:

  • You will need to have been awarded other damages.
  • Only the behaviors that hurt you will be covered.
  • The defendant’s behavior must have been intentional. It cannot be accidental.

The courts will conduct a stringent analysis of the incident in order to figure out whether or not you will be entitled to punitive damages. This means a thorough investigation into the behavior of the defendant.

If you have been injured in an incident that was caused by intentional, reckless behavior, you may be able to get punitive damages with the help of a personal injury attorney.


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