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Personal Injury Compensation: Punitive Damages

Published on June 23rd, 2013

If you file a personal injury claim against a negligent person or group, you can potentially collect compensation for your injuries. The purpose of this compensation is to help you heal by covering the expenses of medical treatment and making up for any loss of income that resulted from the accident. However, in some cases, the court may order that the responsible party also pay punitive damages in order to deter similar destructive behavior in the future.

What is the difference between compensatory and punitive damages?

The purpose of compensatory damages is to help a plaintiff recover from his or her injuries by providing compensation for medical treatment and economic losses. When plaintiffs suffer severe or debilitating injuries, compensatory damages may also be awarded to cover non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are imposed to punish the defendant for his or her negligent behavior and discourage similar recklessness in the future.

In what kinds of cases are punitive damages awarded?

Product liability cases and medical malpractice cases are two kinds of claims in which plaintiffs may be awarded punitive damages. It is always within the judge or jury’s discretion to award this additional compensation in a particular case. For punitive damages to be awarded, the court must determine that the defendant’s conduct was particularly reckless and deserving of additional punishment.

How are punitive damages calculated?

The amount of punitive damages awarded depends on two important factors: the financial standing of the defendant and the nature of the misconduct. Large companies may be forced to pay more in punitive damages than smaller companies or individuals would be, providing a punishment that is proportional with the defendant’s wealth.

With more than 60 years of combined experience representing personal injury victims, the attorneys at Shea Law Group will represent your best interests when it comes to collecting compensation. Give us a call at (888) 529-4185 to learn more about our legal services. We also offer free initial consultations.

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