Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are filing a civil claim against another party for personal injury, you may have to pay punitive damages. When you file a lawsuit, there are compensatory damages and punitive damages. While compensatory damages are tangible damages, punitive damages are a little more difficult to understand. When it comes to a punitive award, most plaintiffs have a couple questions regarding the award.
Do You Deserve Punitive Damages?
To receive punitive damages, the actions of the defendant had to be egregious. For instance, say that a company sells you supplements and claims that they are safe but then you became extremely ill due to it. You may be able to file a lawsuit against the company for lost wages and your medical expenses. If it turns out that an ingredient reacted poorly with your medication, you could make the claim that the company should have had a warning. In this case, a jury may decide that the company not only owes you compensation for damages but should also pay punitive damages.
While personal injury lawsuits already have to involve some level of negligence, negligence does not necessarily mean that the action was egregious. Often, punitive damages are supposed to deter the person and others from behaving in a similar way. Not all cases are awarded punitive damages. Often, juries will award punitive damages when the actions were malicious.
Is There a Limit on Punitive Damages?
In some states, there is a cap on punitive damages. An example of a cap would be that you cannot receive punitive damages that are worth more than your compensatory damages. While some states may not have a cap, there still may be guidelines. Normally, the punitive damages have to be reasonable in comparison to the compensatory damages. These caps and laws may change constantly, however. It is important to discuss the caps with a personal injury lawyer.
When you file a personal injury lawsuit, your main priority is normally to receive compensatory damages. This award is there to pay for your medical bills, lost wages and any other costs that you suffered due to your injury or illness. In some instances, however, a person may act particularly egregious or the person may have acted out of malice. In these cases, you may be able to receive punitive damages. To find out if you have a case, contact a personal injury lawyer, like the office of The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C.