Punitive damages are awarded at the discretion of the court if the defendant’s actions are deemed extremely detrimental, egregious, or malicious. In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to actual damages. However, they are awarded rarely, and you may need the help of an injury lawyer if you plan to seek them.
They may also be awarded if one person’s negligence causes another person to suffer substantial harm. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are two examples of this. It could also be sought in some cases of violation of anti-discrimination legislation in the workplace. So, what are punitive damages? Let’s take a look.
Is the Plaintiff Entitled to Punitive Damages?
Despite the fact that the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant and hold him or her accountable rather than to compensate the plaintiff, the plaintiff will still receive these damages if they are awarded.
In a nutshell, punitive damages reduce the likelihood of future wrongdoing. They have the added side benefit of putting victims in a better financial position after the incident occurred.
How Much Can Punitive Damages Be?
Punitive damages are sometimes calculated based on the plaintiff’s actual damages. In practice, the maximum amount of punitive damages that can be awarded is limited.
Many states, including Texas, have set limits, or caps, on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in their jurisdictions. Your lawyer can let you know how much you may be able to seek in your claim.
Can Punitive Damages Be Awarded?
Punitive damages are rarely awarded in most small claims court cases. This is not because the regulation forbids them, but because the majority of claims fall short of the standard. Of course, there may be exceptions.
In certain circumstances, some punitive damages claims may be admissible. For example, they are often on the table in medical malpractice claims.
As another example, an employer may refuse to pay an employee’s wages. Punitive damages can serve as a deterrent to future employers as well as a punishment to ensure that the defendant does not repeat the unequal and heinous treatment of the employee.
Get Help from a Lawyer with Punitive Damages
Any personal injury case is difficult enough, but when it comes to punitive damages, the difficulty skyrockets. The rules and calculations differ widely from state to state, so you’ll need a Texas attorney to help you best navigate the process here.
In order for an injured person to seek punitive damages in a personal injury lawsuit, there must be a reasonable basis for the award. Still wondering what punitive damages are? Contact an attorney at The Estes Law Firm. Fill out our contact form or call 281-238-5400 for more information.