Those with potential personal injury claims may wonder if they may be able to monetarily punish the wrongdoer in their case. Punitive damages gained with the help of an Injury Attorney are intended to punish a defendant for their actions, and to prevent them from doing the same thing later. These damages differ from conventional damages, which repay a victim for their physical injuries and economic losses.
Awarding Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are rarely awarded, and courts must subject claims to a thorough analysis. These damages are typically available in personal injury cases, and other tort claims where a defendant’s behavior is particularly egregious. They are not usually given in breach of contract cases, although they are awarded in some tort cases committed in the contract setting. Courts look for the below elements before making a punitive damages award.
- The plaintiff should first receive nominal, restitution or compensatory damages.
- The defendant’s actions must rise above mere accident or negligence; they must be purposeful or malicious.
- The damages must be proportional to the plaintiff’s actual damages. Excessive awards are unconstitutional.
- The act must have directly harmed the plaintiff.
Calculating Punitive Damages
There’s no real cap on the issuance of punitive damages, but this doesn’t mean that a plaintiff and their injury attorney in Williston ND area can claim an unlimited amount. Several cases have offered guidelines on the determination of punitive damages, and these calculations can vary by jurisdiction.
Other Factors Used by Courts
Courts consider additional factors in determining punitive awards. These factors may include the reprehensible nature of a defendant’s behavior or the difference between the actual harm and the amount requested. Most courts also consider awards given in past similar cases when making a decision on punitive damages.
Does a Plaintiff Need, an Attorney for Help With Punitive Damages?
Plaintiffs should consult an Injury Attorney in Williston ND to learn whether they may be eligible to receive punitive damages. As mentioned previously, punitive damages must be given in conjunction with actual, compensatory damages. Therefore, one cannot file just to punish the defendant, and a court must determine the case’s merits.