Legal Dictionary

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are a form of monetary compensation awarded to a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit. Unlike compensatory damages, which aim to reimburse the plaintiff for their losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongful conduct and deter others from engaging in similar behavior. Punitive damages are typically awarded in cases where the defendant's actions were particularly egregious or malicious.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of punitive damages?

Punitive damages serve as a deterrent and punishment for defendants who have engaged in particularly harmful or malicious conduct. They aim to discourage similar behavior in the future and send a message that such actions will not be tolerated in a legal context.

How are punitive damages calculated?

The calculation of punitive damages varies depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. Generally, punitive damages are determined based on factors such as the severity of the defendant's misconduct, the harm caused to the plaintiff, and the defendant's financial resources. Courts have the discretion to determine the appropriate amount of punitive damages to be awarded.
The 2023 Legal Trends Report

The 2023 Legal Trends Report

Dive into this data-driven analysis and gain valuable insights on legal cloud technologies, evolving client expectations, state-by-state billing rate breakdowns, and more.

Read the Report