When Might Punitive Damages Play A Role In A Personal Injury Case?

Usually the plaintiff in a personal injury case receives only enough money to cover the cost of the compensatory damages. Sometimes, though, a judge awards punitive damages, as well, to the plaintiff.

What types of damage could be given to the plaintiff in a personal injury case?

Compensatory damages: That is the money that is supposed to make the plaintiff/victim whole again. There are 2 types of compensatory damages: general damages and special damages.

Punitive damages: Awarded to the plaintiff if the responsible party has acted in an egregious manner. Used when the responsible party has committed a wrongdoing that exceeds simple negligence.

Punitive damages are also used if the defendant had carried out an intentional or malicious act. By the same token, this second category of damage might get used if the defendant’s misconduct represents the repetition of some form or wrongdoing.

Primary features of a damage award that acts like a punishment

A jury cannot impose punitive damages, but a jury can impose a civil fine. This type of award is never part of an out-of-court settlement.The fine/punishment is supposed to keep the defendant from repeating the same mistake. If a plaintiff receives the punitive damages award, then the awarding comes after the civil trial. Some legal systems put a cap on the size of any punitive damage. That practice forces any imposed fine to stay in line with the nature and severity of the defendant’s offense.

The judge has the right to reduce the amount of money being awarded to the plaintiff, in response to a jury’s request. The government has the right to place a tax on that part of a plaintiff’s award that is meant to punish the defendant. Consequently, a plaintiff’s attorney might speak with the judge about reducing the size of the punitive damages and increasing the size for one of the compensatory damages.

Of course, the judge does not have to grant the request of the Personal Injury Lawyer in Richmond Hill. Hence, some plaintiffs do get taxed quite a bit for money that was supposed to punish the defendant.

Have the fines/damages proved effective? Have they prevented the repetition of the defendant’s offense?

There are currently no statistics available to members of the public that furnish an answer to either of those questions. Still, the courts do impose punitive damages when it is known that the defendant has committed the same offense.

In other words, even if a defendant refuses to stop carrying out some objectionable act, that same person must suffer, for exercising such poor judgment. He or she gets hit with a fine each time that he or she decides to try doing that specific and highly objectionable act for a 3rd or 4th time.

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