Punitive Damages Legal Definition

What are Punitive Damages?” 

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  • Punitive Damages
Punitive Damages Legal Definition

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Punitive Damages legal definition: Punitive damages is a legal term that refers to money awarded in a lawsuit that exceed the actual damages suffered. Punitive damages are often awarded to punish a defendant for behavior that is deemed particularly heinous and grossly negligent.

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Punitive Damages and Car Accident Cases

Punitive damages are uncommon in most car accident injury cases. In fact, punitive damages are only awarded in car accident cases if the person at fault for your injuries was more than just negligent. Typically, punitive damages are only awarded if the party liable for the accident that caused your injuries was:

  • Reckless
  • Grossly negligent
  • Or constituted a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others

Recovering punitive damages in a car accident injury case will likely require legal research best left to the professionals. Call the car accident injury attorneys at Pribanic & Pribanic today for a free legal evaluation of your claim.


Punitive Damages and Medical Malpractice Cases

Punitive damages are uncommon in medical malpractice cases; they are awarded only in cases where a doctor or health care provider’s behavior was particularly abhorrent, willful, and negligent.


Punitive Damages and Personal Injury Cases

Unlike compensatory damages, which provides for medical bills, missed wages, and other financial losses associated with a personal injury, punitive damages are not typically awarded unless there was gross negligence. 

What is gross negligence? Gross negligence is legally defined as conduct that is both:

  • Reckless and
  • Willfully disregards the health, safety, and welfare of others

It should be noted that while punitive damages can be awarded in nearly all types of personal injury cases – from those involving slip and fall accidents to those caused by defective products – the rules governing them vary by state.


Punitive Damages and Workers’ Compensation Cases

Punitive damages do not come into play in workers’ compensation cases. That’s because employees hurt on the job in Pennsylvania are entitled to work comp benefits regardless of whether their injury was the fault of their own fault or that of their employer.








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