During a personal injury or civil lawsuit, the person filing the lawsuit typically seeks damages against the person they are suing. Compensatory damages cover losses such as medical bills from the person who was injured, lost income from work, or pain and suffering. Punitive damages in a lawsuit can be rewarded to the plaintiff in addition to compensatory damages, but they are only rewarded if the defendant’s actions were exceptionally bad.
Compensation From Personal Injury Cases
It is hard to say exactly how an individual who was injured would be compensated. No two cases are the same, and several factors go into determining the value of a claim. The extent of your injuries, medical expenses, and other damages are all taken into consideration when deciding how much your claim is worth. It is possible that you could recover compensation for:
- Medical Treatment
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Property Loss
- Punitive Damages
What Are Punitive Damages in a Lawsuit?
The purpose of punitive damages in a lawsuit is to punish the individual as well as prevent them from doing something similar in the future. Punitive damages are separate from compensatory damages, as compensatory damages compensate the injured individual for their injuries and any financial losses they have incurred.
The only difference between punitive damages and compensatory damages is that punitive damages are given when the individual who caused the victim harm was intentional, malicious, violent, or reckless.
When Are Punitive Damages Awarded in New Jersey?
Punitive damages are typically rewarded when the defendant’s actions were intended, or the defendant acted with no regard for anyone else’s safety. Some scenarios of when punitive damages are awarded include:
- Intentional and specific intent to cause harm
- Malice was shown
- Willful misconduct
- If the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
When filing a personal injury claim, it’s important to note that you will have to specifically request to be awarded punitive damages. The jury will decide whether or not punitive damages should be granted based on the severity of the situation that occurred. Every case is unique, so the likelihood of obtaining punitive damages will depend on many different legal factors.
Proving Punitive Damages
The plaintiff must show clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with clear and intentional malice or reckless disregard that caused the plaintiff harm. Here are a few factors that the judges will consider when deciding whether to grant punitive damages:
- The likelihood that serious harm was going to occur from the defendant’s actions
- Whether the defendant was aware that his or her actions were going to put the plaintiff in harm’s way
- The duration of the situation
- If the defendant tried to hide his or her actions
- The financial status of the defendant and the capability to pay punitive damages
Since there is a requirement on the ability to be able to pay the punitive damages, oftentimes they are only imposed on corporations or wealthy individuals. Insurance companies could also have to pay punitive damages.
Contact Our New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys Today
Whether you’ve been injured at work, in an automobile accident, or due to medical malpractice – you deserve justice and fair compensation for your injuries. Since 1997, the personal injury attorneys of Gold, Albanese, Barletti & Locascio have established a legacy of justice for their clients. We will work tirelessly on your behalf to get maximum compensation for your injuries. There are no upfront legal fees and we don’t get paid unless you win your case.
Our firm is licensed and admitted to municipal, state, federal, and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Since 1997, we have helped thousands of clients and established a track record of success across a wide array of legal practice areas. Contact us today to speak with our professional attorneys.