What Are Punitive Damages?

If you have ever been in a local car accident, you may have heard the term “punitive damages.” But what are punitive damages? And what do they mean for your case? In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about punitive damages. We will go over what they are, how they work, and why they are awarded in some cases.

We will also discuss some of the pros and cons of punitive damages. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of punitive damages and whether or not they could be applicable in your case.

The process of pursuing a damage claim can be long and tedious. A good lawyer can help you navigate through this. At Manard Law, LLC, we are dedicated to helping you get justice, and have the experience to help you get the best possible outcome.

Understanding Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are a form of legal compensation that is awarded to the victim of civil wrongdoing. This type of damage is intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter them from engaging in similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages are different from compensatory damages, which are intended to compensate the victim for their losses. In order to award punitive damages, the court must find that the defendant’s actions were malicious, reckless, or intentional.

How Punitive Damages Work

In order to award punitive damages, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions were malicious, reckless, or intentional. The court will then weigh a variety of factors in order to determine an appropriate amount of punitive damages. These factors can include:

  • The severity of the defendant’s conduct
  • The extent of the harm caused by the defendant’s conduct
  • The defendant’s ability to pay punitive damages
  • Whether or not the plaintiff contributed to their own harm by engaging in behavior that was also reckless, malicious, or intentional.

Pros and Cons of Punitive Damages

There are many pros and cons associated with punitive damages. The most notable pro is that they can deter defendants from engaging in the same type of conduct that caused harm to another person. They can also provide a financial incentive for plaintiffs to sue and recover damages from defendants who have harmed them.

However, there are several cons as well. Punitive damages can result in excessive verdicts that are not justifiable by the law or facts at hand. They may also be challenging to collect, especially if the defendant is not wealthy. Additionally, punitive damages can have a negative impact on the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant, even leading to bankruptcy in some cases.

When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?

Punitive damages are typically awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were malicious, reckless, or intentional. They can also be awarded in cases involving fraud, gross negligence, and other types of behavior that are not justifiable by law or fact. This type of damage is different from compensatory damages because it is intended to punish the defendant rather than compensate the plaintiff for their losses.

Punitive damages can range anywhere from one thousand dollars up to ten million or more depending on the severity of the defendant’s conduct and their ability to pay.


At this point, you should have a better understanding of punitive damages and how they work. You can use this knowledge to make an informed decision about whether or not it would be worth your time and effort to pursue a claim against someone who has harmed you. Lawyers at Manard Law, LLC are experienced in handling and filing all types of claims involving punitive damages. Contact us today at 504-585-7777 for a free consultation.