How Are Punitive Damages Awarded
When a victim of personal injury seeks monetary awards in court, they are usually seeking compensatory damages, but there is a special type of damages that can be awarded to punish, penalize and deter the defendant for any wrongful acts in the future. Punitive damages are used to punish and prevent defendants from committing those actions ever again.
These awards can amount to a much larger sum than that issued in compensatory damages. When dealing with personal injury or tort claims, the Judge or Jury can decide to award the plaintiff punitive damages.
What Do Punitive Damage Awards Cover?
Compensatory awards are generally issued to cover everything from a victim’s medical bills and expenses to a loss in salary due to being out of the office.
Punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages and are rarely awarded alone without compensatory damages. In addition, the defendant in a case must be proven to have acted maliciously or with a total disregard to consequences of his actions, rather than just being negligent.
How the Amount to Be Awarded Is Determined
Punitive damages are to be awarded in the amount that’s reasonably proportional to the actual losses and damages incurred by the victim. The law doesn’t allow for awarding punitive damages in excess amounts.
The way punitive damages are calculated differs from one state to another. There are constitutional guidelines in place, and the law gives general parameters for determining punitive damages.
The amount of punitive damages can depend on the severity of a defendant’s actions and how unacceptable they are; the more reprehensive their actions are, the higher the punitive damages award can be.
Getting the Assistance of a Qualified Attorney
Since punitive damage claims can be quite complicated to prove and determine, you’ll need the help of a skilled lawyer for more than just determining the amount that should be awarded. The experienced law firm of Eric J. Hertz can help provide you with the answers you’re looking for. For more information about our services and how we can be of any assistance in your case, contact us today.