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Punitive Damages

In tort law, there are two major types of damages that can be awarded in a case. The first type of damages is referred to as “compensatory damages”, which exist as the name implies, to compensate a victim of an injury for their expenses. These may include both direct expenses like medical bills and prescription drugs, in addition to indirect expenses like lost wages due to the injury.

However, in many jurisdictions, punitive damages are allowed, which exist not to compensate the victim, but to punish the person responsible for the injury. Typically, the negligence must be extremely egregious in order for punitive damages to be awarded. The logic is that if the amount of the compensation is nothing more than a “drop in the bucket” to the defendant, he or she should be more substantially punished through punitive damages.

If, for example, a defendant is a multi-million dollar corporation which must pay a $1000 medical bill, it would likely be more cost effective for the company not to change its behavior that caused the injury and simply pay the $1000. Punitive damages exist to put a greater cost on reckless misbehavior.

Punitive damages have been the subject of much controversy, as many people feel as though they encourage frivolous lawsuits, and that the victim of an injury is unduly rewarded simply for bringing a problem to public attention. Nonetheless, punitive damages are an accepted part of United States common law.

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If you or a loved one has been injured by the negligence of another, contact a Cincinnati personal injury lawyer at Stepleton Dugan, LLC today at 513-321-7733, and we will evaluate your case.

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Stepleton Dugan, LLC
6071 Montgomery Road
CincinnatiOH 45213
(513) 321-7733
Stepleton Dugan, LLC
6071 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, OH 45213
(513) 321-7733

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