What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages exemplary damages are compensation intended to punish a defendant for outrageous conduct deter similar behavior. Read on to learn more

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What Are Punitive Damages?

In California, coverage for personal injury claims is divided into two categories: compensatory and punitive damages. Compensation compensates a survivor for monetary, physical, and emotional injuries incurred as a result of a preventable accident. Hospital costs, missed earnings, and pain and suffering are also examples of compensatory damages. 

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Punitive damages are less often awarded than compensatory damages. They serve to penalize the offender, not to compensate the complainant. Consult a Los Angeles personal injury attorney to see whether you will be liable for punitive damages.

Definition Of Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are used to deter a criminal for certain types of wrongdoing. In California, punitive damages are assessed based on the defendant’s actions rather than the plaintiff’s losses. Punitive damages – also known as exceptional damages – can be recovered in addition to compensatory damages in some personal injury cases under California Civil Code 3294. To seek punitive damages in California, an applicant must establish by clear and convincing testimony that the defendant committed deception, intent, or oppression.

When Do The California Courts Award Punitive Damages?

The presumption of proof for obtaining punitive damages in a civil case in California is clear and convincing evidence. This requirement involves demonstrating that the evidence proposed is significantly more likely to be true than false. The complainant bears the presumption of evidence. The complainant (or attorney) would be responsible for establishing the defendant’s tyranny, deception, or intent by strong and compelling testimony.
According to the law, oppression is shameful behavior that subjects a victim to cruel and unfair hardships with an intentional disregard for the victim’s rights. Fraud is described as the deliberate deception of a victim by the intentional misrepresentation or concealment of a material truth, resulting in the victim’s injury or property harm. Malice can refer to either willful acts intended to harm the complainant or despicable actions done with a deliberate disregard for the interests and welfare of others.
To seek substantial damages in a California personal injury case, you or your attorney must establish that the defendant committed one of these torts in accordance with the negligence and damages you sustained. If you are bringing a lawsuit against a corporate employer, you may therefore establish advanced expertise and a director or manager’s deliberate contempt for or sanction of the tort. With the assistance of a lawyer, you will increase the odds of establishing your right to punitive damages during a lawsuit.
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How Are Punitive Damages Calculated?

Punitive damages are most often awarded in lawsuits involving grave offenses such as murder. If a judge determines that you have satisfied the burden of evidence in pursuing punitive damages, he or she will award them depending on the defendant’s conduct and willingness to compensate. The amount of punitive damages paid is at the judge’s discretion. There is no formula or standard for measuring punitive damages. A court can determine punitive damages based on the defendant’s activities’ degree of reprehensibility, as well as the defendant’s financial situation. The monetary award would be intended to deter the criminal from further wrongdoing.

Does California Have A Cap On Punitive Damages?

Numerous jurisdictions have limits on the amount of civil damages that can be recovered. A liability ceiling limits the amount of money that a complainant will recover in damages so make sure to reach out to a Los Angeles car accident attorney. California lacks a limit on monetary damages. The US Supreme Court, on the other hand, holds that punitive damages cannot grossly outweigh compensatory damages. Punitive damages must be proportionate to compensatory damages. In instances where the defendant’s action is particularly heinous, the rules call for increased multipliers for punitive damages. The only way to determine with certainty whether you are eligible for punitive damages in California is to meet with a personal injury attorney.

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