What are Punitive Damages in a Civil Trial?

If you’ve been injured because of the negligence or wrongdoing of another party, you may decide to file a civil lawsuit with the hopes of being compensated for your suffering and the expenses associated with it. If you win the case, the court will award you compensatory or punitive damages (or both). Compensatory damages are intended to compensate you for all your calculable losses, while punitive damages serve the function of punishing the defendant in order to deter similar acts from being committed in the future.

Although punitive damages, often called exemplary damages, are less common than compensatory damages, they are reserved for cases where the defendant committed a grossly negligent, fraudulent or nefarious act.

What factors are considered when determining punitive damages?

It’s important to know that the burden of proof in a civil lawsuit falls upon the plaintiff. That means if someone has injured you through negligence or an intentionally nefarious or fraudulent act, it is your responsibility to prove this to the court.

Below are some important facts about punitive damages in civil lawsuits:

      • They are awarded to the plaintiff and paid by the defendant.
      • They are awarded only in special circumstances when the defendant’s actions are considered to be grossly negligent, morally culpable, nefarious, fraudulent or actuated by evil and reprehensible motives. They are not awarded in simple cases of negligence.
      • Unlike compensatory damages, the objective is not to compensate the plaintiff. Instead they work to punish the defendant and deter future acts from being committed.
      • They are awarded in a very small number of cases.
      • They cannot be issued alone. The court must also find that the plaintiff deserves compensatory damages, an award paid by the defendant for tangible losses such as medical bills and missed time for work.

If you or a loved one has been injured because of a particularly egregious act by another person or party, you should consider contacting a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in League City. Consulting with an attorney can help you get a better idea of what sort of civil damages you can expect if you decide to file a claim.

Contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Texas

No one deserves to be injured because of the negligence of another person. But it’s even worse when the injury occurred because of a grossly negligent or morally reprehensible act. At Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers, we’ve been fighting for clients who have been wrongly injured for nearly fifty years. We know how to get you the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one was injured because of another person or party’s negligence, give us a ring today at (281) 645-5000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.