Plaintiffs are often awarded compensatory damages in a personal injury lawsuit to compensate them for personal injury, death, or property damage caused by the defendant. Compensatory damages include losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and repair/replacement of property. In addition to compensatory damages, a plaintiff may be able receive exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages.
Exemplary damages are awarded to a plaintiff to punish the defendant. The court also awards punitive damages to deter other individuals from committing the same acts.
For a plaintiff to receive exemplary damages, the defendant’s actions must be considered:
The actions must be so egregious or malicious that the defendant is used as a public example of how not to act. For example, a defendant writes a book telling readers the plaintiff committed murder even though they know that it is not true.
Cases for breach of contract prohibit punitive damage awards. It does not matter how poorly the defendant acted in the situation.
Not every plaintiff who wins a personal injury case will be awarded exemplary damages. The court will award the money after careful analysis to determine if the following requirements are satisfied:
Exemplary damages are set according to the compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff, and most states have a statutory limit on how much a plaintiff can receive in exemplary damages. Typically, the plaintiff receives about three times the compensatory award. Most states require a plaintiff receive compensatory damages before receiving any exemplary damages.
Contact a personal injury attorney to help you understand exemplary damages. An attorney will be able to help you determine whether you will be able to pursue exemplary damages in your case.
Last Modified: 07-07-2015 04:06 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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