Punitive Damages



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Definition of Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are damages above and beyond what may be paid to a plaintiff in a personal injury claim to compensate them from loss of property or injury. Punitive damages can be used to punish the defendant rather than compensate the victim. In recent years, punitive damages have come under fire by U.S. business and insurance groups which allege that exorbitant punitive damage awards have increased the cost of doing business in the United States.

Punitive damages are generally awarded to the plaintiff if they have proven that the defendant's behavior was violent, wanton, reckless, and oppressive and the defendant acted intentionally or maliciously with little or no regard for the safety and interest of the plaintiff. Punitive damages are regulated by state law. Some states have limited or refused to award punitive damages for any action, others have provided guidelines for how they will be allocated. Punitive damages are controversial and may not be allowed for your car accident claim. If you have been injured in a car accident, talk to a car accident lawyer about the types of damages you may be able to receive. Some no-fault states will not let drivers file a car accident claim unless their injuries are severe or permanent or they have reached a certain monetary threshold.



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