How Punitive are Damages Calculated
In addition to damages that make the plaintiff whole and indemnify the plaintiff for bodily injury or property damage, the law also allows an award for Punitive damages are not meant to give the plaintiff something he or she lost due the tortious conduct of the defendant. They are meant to punish the defendant for conduct that was especially outrageous.
The extraordinary damages are assessed because the court believe that the defendant needs to be punished in addition to the damages he or she pays as compensatory damages. Society as a whole is expected to learn that the type of conduct that allows for the award of punitive damages will not be accepted through publication of punitive damage awards.
Even though punitive damage awards are meant to punish the defendant and benefit society, not the plaintiff, punitive damage awards are paid to the plaintiff. Punitive damages awards have been characterized as a windfall for plaintiffs because they put the plaintiff in a much better position financially than they were before the accident.
Some states allow juries to award punitive damages in any amount that they feel is appropriate. With the right case, a plaintiff could receive a multimillion-dollar punitive damage award. Other states have severely limited punitive damage awards by limiting the types of cases where they can be awarded or placing statutory caps on how much money a jury or judge can award for punitive damages. For example, lawsuits against medical care providers for malpractice have punitive damage caps in some states. Plaintiffs may also receive punitive damage awards from insurance companies that deal in bad faith with their insureds and fail to treat their insureds fairly under the terms of the applicable insurance policy.
© 2020 – Barry Zalma
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance business. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine/ACE Legend Award.
Over the last 52 years Barry Zalma has dedicated his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to make it possible for insurers and their claims staff to become insurance claims professionals.
Read posts from Barry Zalma at https://parler.com/profile/Zalma/posts
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