What are punitive damages?

Normal damages are intended to put the victim/plaintiff back into the position they were in prior to an accident. For example, if you sustained an injury at work due to someone’s negligence, your wages should be paid to you for the time that you lost.

Punitive damages are different. Punitive damages do not give the plaintiff back something the plaintiff lost as a result of an accident. Instead, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for particularly outrageous/egregious conduct. These damages are sometimes paid in conjunction with compensatory damages and are not handed down in every case.

Punitive damages are also regarded as the plaintiff and the court sending a message to not just the at-fault defendant, but to society as a whole to deter others from doing these same types of behaviors involved in a wrongful death case.

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