Punitive Damages Punishment Example

Punitive Damages Punishment

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are the penalties a court may award in a lawsuit to punish a defendant and deter future wrongdoing. They are typically ten times more than the initial damages awarded to the victim. The idea behind the penalties is to make sure the defendant understands that what they did was not only illegal but highly offensive to the general public. They are often used in cases of drunk driving, street racing and similar actions that cause serious injury or death.

When a judge is considering punitive damages, they look at several factors including the extent of the defendant’s negligence and how egregious or shocking their conduct was. They also consider what would be a reasonable penalty for their crime in the criminal justice system, to ensure that the punishment is proportionate. The judge will also look at how many other similar situations have been prosecuted in the same jurisdiction. In addition, they will look at the ratio of punitive damages to actual damages to make sure that the amount isn’t unnecessarily large.

In most states, the burden of proof to award punitive damages is much lower than that required for a criminal case. A plaintiff must show by a preponderance of the evidence that it is more likely than not that the defendant acted in a manner that warrants punitive damages. This is generally considered a higher standard than the “clear and convincing” evidence requirement that applies to criminal cases, but less stringent than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that exists in criminal trials.

Punitive Damages Punishment Example

While punitive damages are usually reserved for tort law cases such as medical malpractice and personal injury claims, they can be awarded in contracts as well. This is especially common when the contract involves a violation of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, or for insurance bad faith claims that violate the implied covenant.

The other way that a judge may award punitive damages is by looking at the behavior of the defendant as a whole. They will look at their previous behavior and any history of disciplinary action that they have faced with the court, as well as how much this particular incident cost the victims financially and emotionally. They will also consider how the defendant reacted to the incident and whether they demonstrated any remorse or apology.

If a jury finds that the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious and outrageous, then punitive damages will be awarded. However, they are not awarded to everyone. Most judges will not award them unless it can be proven that the defendant’s behavior was both extremely dangerous and flagrantly negligent. In some cases, this could include a doctor misdiagnosing a patient or a driver who loses control of their car after drinking too much and colliding with a bus full of children.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *