Punitive damages are awarded to a plaintiff in addition to compensatory damages.
Punitive damages are awarded when the defendant's conduct is especially egregious. In addition to compensatory damages, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for his or her actions and discourage similar conduct in the future. Punitive damages may be available when the defendant is particularly malicious or when the defendant’s actions are intentional.
Punitive damages are awarded at the discretion of the jury and are based on their opinion of what amount is necessary to deter similar conduct in the future. In some states, punitive damages are limited by statute or case law.
The amount awarded by the jury is usually based on several factors:
the maliciousness or willfulness of the defendant's acts
the degree of aggravation or harm caused by those acts
the financial resources of the defendant
In most cases, punitive damages are only available in civil cases where compensatory damages are available.Support the show