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The Value of Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are commonly awarded by a jury or court in a trial to, as their name suggests, punish the defendant for some egregious action he or she committed. While they are somewhat rare, punitive damages have a great value to society.

The biggest advantage to society of punitive damages is to punish an individual for an action that frequently goes unpunished by the criminal justice system. For example, the criminal justice system typically does not prosecute trespass offenses beyond handing out a nominal or minimal fine and citation. While this keeps the criminal justice system less clogged up with cases, it also fails to protect a property owner’s right to exclude people. This, in turn, may encourage property owners to take the law into their own hands.

The same can be said for items that fall below the spectrum of requiring criminal prosecution but still inflict pain. For instance, a person may cause someone else’s death in a way that fits the description of neither manslaughter nor murder. The individual who got away with the death may feel relief, but the family is still forced to deal with the loss of their loved one. Punitive damages in a wrongful death case may encourage others not repeat the actions of the defendant.

In this way, punitive damages inject an element of criminal justice, that being deterrence, into the civil system. The damages assigned punitively are meant to deter others from doing the same thing in the future. They also make an example of an individual who may have been cleared in the criminal justice system.

Contact a Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyer

If your rights have been impeded in a way that is not adequately addressed by the criminal justice system, contact the Cincinnati personal injury lawyers of Stepleton Dugan, LLC at 513-321-7733.





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

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