Skip to Content

Understanding Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Claims

Woman with broken arm looks up information on her laptop

Punitive damages are a type of compensation awarded to a plaintiff in a personal injury claim that goes beyond the actual damages suffered. They are meant to punish the defendant for their actions and deter them and others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.

However, not all personal injury claims are eligible for punitive damages, and even if they are, getting awarded them can be a challenging and complex process. In this blog post, we will explain everything you need to know about punitive damages in personal injury claims, so you can make informed decisions about your case.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are a form of compensation awarded to plaintiffs in addition to actual damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They are meant to be a consequence to the defendant for their egregious conduct and prevent them and others from taking similar actions going forward. Punitive damages are typically awarded in cases where the defendant's actions were especially reckless, malicious, or intentional, and where compensatory damages are not sufficient to achieve justice.

How Are Punitive Damages Calculated?

Unlike compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate the plaintiff for their actual losses, punitive damages are not based on any specific formula or formulaic approach. Instead, they are calculated based on a variety of factors, including the severity of the defendant's conduct, the harm caused to the plaintiff, the defendant's financial status, and the need to deter similar conduct in the future. Punitive damages can range from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars, depending on the circumstances of the case.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?

Punitive damages are not awarded in every personal injury case. In fact, they are only awarded in cases where the defendant's conduct was particularly egregious, such as cases involving intentional harm, fraud, or malice.

For example, if a driver causes an accident due to negligence, they may be liable for compensatory damages, but not punitive damages. However, if a driver causes an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may be liable for both compensatory and punitive damages.

Understanding Punitive Damages is Crucial

Understanding punitive damages in personal injury claims is crucial if you want to get the compensation you deserve. While punitive damages are not awarded in every case, they can provide a powerful tool for holding negligent or malicious defendants accountable for their actions. If you think you may be eligible for punitive damages, contact Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP for a free consultation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and fight for your best interests.

Call our Los Angeles attorneys at (866) 634-4525 or contact us online to get in touch with someone from our team about the details of your case right away. We will fight to recover your full and fair compensation.