What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages often make the headlines. Why? Because the cases that hit the news have extraordinarily high awards. For example, a New Jersey jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $750 million in punitive damages. The plaintiffs alleged the company’s talcum powder caused them to develop cancer. If you believe you may be entitled to punitive damages for an injury caused by another party’s negligence, contact a personal injury attorney for help.

Few cases receive such sizeable punitive damage awards, but smaller awards are possible under the right circumstances.

Punitive Damages Are Sometimes Granted in Personal Injury Claims

Compensatory damages are intended to compensate. Punitive damages are typically more of a punishment based on the defendant’s actions.

Courts and juries might have the opportunity to award punitive damages at the conclusion of a trial. Often, this happens at the same time they hand down a verdict.

Again, it’s important to remember that punitive damages are not awarded in all personal injury cases. Typically, the judge or jury feels that the defendant’s actions were egregious or malicious. In other words, they did more than just injury the plaintiff through negligence.

And They’re Different from Compensatory Damages

Personal injury claimants are seeking money to cover injuries someone else caused. It’s usually possible to provide supporting documentation for the following type of damages:

  • Medical bills for current medical treatment,
  • Therapy and rehabilitation,
  • Prescription drugs,
  • Skilled nursing care,
  • Domestic assistance needed because of the claimant’s injuries,
  • Transportation costs,
  • Lost income, and
  • Lost earning ability.

Other compensatory damages include some injuries that are more difficult (but not impossible) to prove:

  • The cost of future medical treatment,
  • Mental anguish and depression,
  • Loss of enjoyment of life,
  • Long-term pain and suffering.

As noted above, punitive damages are less about compensating for specific damages than punishing wrongdoers.

Will Your Personal Injury Compensation Include Punitive Damages?

Courts and juries don’t award punitive damages to every successful plaintiff. However, we can assess your unique circumstances to see what kind of compensation you could receive.

If you have been hurt because of someone else’s negligence, you need help from top-rated, hard-working representation. At Shapiro | Delgado, our attorneys put their injury law experience to work for you. And we handle cases on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you do.

We represent clients throughout Florida, including Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa, Saint Petersburg, Pinellas County, and surrounding communities.

To set up a free personal consultation, call 941-954-4000 or use our convenient online contact form.

Your family counts on you.
You can count on us.

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