Punitive Damages: A Striking Deterrent For Fraudsters

What Is Punitive Damages

What Punitive Damage Is

Today there exist legal policies that are aimed solely at preventing crimes rather than gunning for the wrong doers after the crime has taken place. Punishments are in place with the intention of deterring others from committing any sort of activities that are deemed illegal or fraudulent. One of the biggest examples for the same is Punitive damages. So you might be wondering what is punitive damages? Well, this post will explain in detail about punitive damages and you can use this knowledge in future legal endeavors.

If you go by the rulebooks, punitive damages are those that are awarded to the plaintiff in a lawsuit with the intention of sending out a message to potential wrong doers. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff can claim damages in the name of Punitive damages from the defendant if the plaintiff can provide enough evidence to prove that the defendant made a malicious move or that his conduct was reckless and caused severe violations of the plaintiff’s rights.

Also known the world over as exemplary damages, punitive damages can be claimed by the plaintiff for any loss that he or she suffers because of the harm done to him or her due to the direct involvement of the defendant. If we look at a civil point of view, then punitive damages serve as an important and landmark judgment. The victim who is compensated might find justification for the harm done to him and it is also in the best interests of the society. Additional damage costs extracted from the defendant in this way will mean that potential violators will think twice before committing a crime.

Exemplary Damages

Punitive Damage And Its Meaning

What makes it different from other compensatory awards is that it is less predictable as compared to others. The main reason is that they do not occur frequently in verdicts. Most of the time, federal and even state judiciaries have a say in the amount paid as the punitive damage. Mostly if the compensatory amount that the defendant pays to the victim or plaintiff is higher, then punitive damages may be shortened or even waived off at times.

Whatever be the case, punitive damages indeed prove to be a highly deterring factor for people who engage in potential fraudulent practices. The amount of compensation that needs to be paid in this regard becomes too heavy and hence people see it better to avoid doing the crime.

The knowledge of what is punitive damages should be spread across the society so that more people are made aware of it and more people will be deterred from malicious acts.

To Eliminate Or Not To Eliminate Punitive Damages

What is punitive damages

Civil lawsuits and punitive damages

What is punitive damages? A very often asked question, these are monetary damages awarded to punish the defendant and to deter others from committing the same wrong in the future. Besides the actual damages, these damages are generally awarded to benefit the society as a whole. These exemplary damages are generally awarded in a civil lawsuit and have been awarded since the 1970’s.

What kind of conduct leads to punitive damages?

Punitive damages are considered as an instrument to convey a message to the defendant and the society to deter such similar wrongs in the future. However, punitive damages become a major controversy in civil and product liability cases. The wrongdoing for which the defendant is awarded punitive damages varies, as there is no definitive definition for these damages. The accused may be ordered to pay punitive damages if he causes the injury intentionally and knowingly with malicious intent. These damages are usually awarded when the conduct can be regarded as fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, malicious or violent in nature. Generally, these non-compensatory damages are awarded only after awarding the compensatory damages.

Why are punitive damages unique in civil law?

While considering criminal law and civil law, there are quite a few differences to distinguish the two. The reason why punitive damages become controversial in civil law is that they are similar to the damages that are granted in a criminal case even though they are awarded in civil law. The awards that are granted in civil lawsuits are generally compensatory in nature. However, punitive damages being non-compensatory in nature are what make them similar to the damages that are awarded in a criminal case. For this reason, punitive damages are often termed as ‘quasi-criminal.’

Non-Compensatory Damages

Punitive damages explained

Eliminate the punitive damages or not?

When it comes to punitive damages, there are both supporters as well as critics to this legal principle. While the supporters are of the opinion that when it is not possible to calculate the actual losses suffered by the plaintiff tangibly, then punitive damages serve as a sufficient compensation. On the other hand, critics believe that these punishments are criminal in nature and that it cannot be considered reasonable in today’s modern society. They are of the opinion that it is not fair to enforce it on defendants, as they do not have protection under criminal court proceedings.

For more info on what is punitive damages and the laws regarding the same, refer online legal resources. Alternatively, you can go down to your local library and check out their law section.

Some Info On Small Claim Courts

What is punitive damages

                   Calculating punitive damages

Small claim courts are a more simplified and basic version of the usual civil court proceeding. The rules and procedures followed by these courts make it an ideal option for certain limited claims and cases where the damage calculation is simple. However, before you file a claim in these courts, it is essential to understand what is punitive damages, whether or not your case can be brought in small claim courts and how damages are calculated in such courts.

Claim restrictions

Many states have limitations regarding the type of actions that can be brought in small claims. Domestic disputes that are generally presented in a family court, some civil torts and criminal cases cannot be filed in small claims. In addition, damages such as injunctive relief, punitive damages etc. cannot be obtained in small claims.

Actual economic damages

Property damage, unpaid rent, small contract issues, minor injuries are examples of small claim cases. These cases can be brought under the small claim because of the economic damages in such cases. Medical bills and lost wages are other types of economic damages in civil suits. Expectation damages because of breach of contract are another example of easily quantifiable damages.

Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages are the damages that are awarded for things like pain and suffering and so they are comparatively not as easily quantifiable as the economic damages. Juries generally tend to exercise wide discretion for awarding non-economic damages in regular civil courts. Majority of the states have caps on the total amount that can be awarded. In small claims, non-economic damages are hardly ever awarded as such claims have negligible non-economic damages and because there is no jury in such claims.

Punitive damages

Small claim courts do not permit awarding punitive damages in most states. This is another major restriction on the method adopted for calculating damages in small claim courts. If the defendant inflicts an injury intentionally, then punitive damages can be awarded in civil courts. By filing in small claims instead of civil courts in case of intentional injury, the plaintiff is practically waiving off his right to receive punitive damages.

Small claim courts

 Punitive damages and small claim courts

Before deciding where to file your lawsuit, it is important that you understand what is punitive damages, if you are liable to receive these damages and such factors. Go through online legal resources to know more about small courts and their rules and procedures. Consult an experienced attorney for his advice on the best procedure.

Different Types Of Damages

What is punitive damages

Punitive damages explained

If a person was to file a case against his neighbor in court, stating that the latter is a drunkard who regularly damages the former’s garden, such a case will proceed till the court reaches a decision. If the court agrees with the plaintiff, then the defendant (the drunken neighbor), will have to pay a sufficient amount of money as damages. The neighbor in this case would after that, the neighbor would think twice before getting drunk and causing havoc, being aware of the damages that are leviable.

Different types of damages are used in courts, according to the circumstances in play at the time. Punitive damages do not fit the description of the usual damages. So, what is punitive damages? Here are some interesting details regarding the different types of damages that a defendant will have to pay, if found guilty in a court of law.

What is punitive damages?

Punitive damages are different from other forms of damages, in the sense that they are not intended as a recompense for the damages caused. Instead, they are a way by which the court punishes the defendant, in cases where the court deems that the monetary fines given to the defendant are not enough punishment. The court thus imposes further punishment on the defendant, referred to as punitive damages. These are meant as a sort of warning to other people, and are usually awarded in cases where the court feels the behavior of the defendant was not fit for a normal society.

Pain and suffering damages

These types of damages are usually awarded in cases where the victim had to suffer physical pain or mental anguish, which is usually the case in personal injury cases.

Compensatory damages

If the victim was to suffer financial losses associated with the injury caused by the defendant, then the damages that are awarded by the court are termed as compensatory damages. These types of damages are meant to cover losses incurred as property damage, medical bills or other costs.

Compensatory damages

What are punitive damages?

Lost wages

If the victim was to loss wages due to not being able to attend work, owing to the wrongdoing of the defendant, then the victim can be awarded damages for the wages lost.

There are some other types of damages too, but these are the most common types of damages awarded in a court of law. Damages can thus, effectively, be a form of punishment as well as a method to recoup some money lost.

Punitive Damages And Insurance Policies

What is punitive damages

Punitive damages explained

Punitive damages are awarded to a plaintiff in the event that the court deems the actions of the defendant to have been highly dangerous. If these are decided to have been of a violent nature, the court has the authority to award punitive damages, which the defendant must pay. These damages are not meant to cover the losses suffered by the victim, but rather to punish the defendant. So, what is punitive damages? Are they just a sort of punishment that the court inflicts on the defendants? What is the role of insurance companies when it comes to paying the punitive damages? These are the questions we need answers to, and those are briefly explained below.

What is punitive damages?

The details mentioned above will surely give you an idea regarding punitive damages. These damages are intended as a punishment, and also to serve as a warning to others who are preparing to engage in activities that are deemed dangerous to the general public.

Liability insurance policy

If a negligent action from your part was to cause an accident resulting in the injury of another person, then with the help of a liability insurance policy, you will be able to cover the costs incurred in such a situation. It should be noted that, the insurance company is needed to pay off the damages only if the injury to the victim happened as a result of a negligent action. If the insurance company finds out that the incident was intentional, then they are not liable to pay for your damages. The company is also liable to pay for any legal costs, if any, in the event of an accident.

Liability insurance policy

         what are punitive damages?

Cover for punitive damages

Whether the insurance policy covers the punitive damages or not will depend on the state in which you have applied for the insurance cover. In most states, the insurance policy does not cover for the punitive damages and if you are to pay off any punitive damages, you will not be able to depend on the insurance policy.

Punitive damages are usually awarded in cases where the defendant is found guilty of driving under the influence, or in a hit and run case. In such cases, the defendant might have to pay off the punitive damages personally.

These are some of the details regarding punitive damages and insurance policies. While insurance policies will help in paying off damages, in situations where you have to pay punitive damages, they might not be of help.

Some Information On Civil Procedure For Punitive Damages

What is punitive damages

               Civil procedure for punitive damages

Punitive damages are damages that are awarded by the court if it feels that the punishment given to the defendant was not enough. These may be monetary damages that would be awarded on top of the compensation damages that have already been awarded. These damages are meant as a punishment for the defendants and hence the name ‘punitive’.

So, what is punitive damages? This punishment is usually given by the court of law as a sort of warning so that it will deter other people from engaging in such anti-social activities. It is a way of punishing the culprit while also sending a message to the other people, so that they will refrain from involving in such activities.

What is punitive damages?

The term punitive damages have already been discussed in brief in the previous paragraph. More on the subject of punitive damages has been given below.

If persons contesting a civil lawsuit are not from the same state and the money in question is more than $75000, then the lawsuit cannot be conducted in a state court. In cases were the state law forms the basis of the civil lawsuit that the persons are contesting, there exists a rule that says that such lawsuits must be conducted in state courts. Therefore, such lawsuits are required to be contested in federal courts.

If the defendants do not plead for an exorbitant amount of money as compensatory or punitive damages, the plaintiffs will get a positive judgment from the federal courts. For the federal court to reach such a decision regarding punitive damages, it must be established by the plaintiffs in the court that the punitive damages that they are demanding are within reasonable limits.


Court of law

                        More on punitive damages

The judge holds the right to alter the decision made by the jury in cases was the punitive damages are involved. This power of the judge is termed as remittitur. In such cases, the judge can reduce the amount of punitive damages awarded by a jury and even has the power to even order a new trial. Therefore, even if the jury was to award to award punitive damages, the judge can override those decisions and reduce the amount of damages.

These are some details regarding punitive damages that are awarded in certain cases. These damages, as a form of punishment have been realized as an effective way of ensuring that people will keep away from engaging in anti-social activities.

Is It Necessary To Pay Taxes For Lawsuit Settlements?

What is punitive damages

Punitive damages and compensatory                                           damages

Recently, I had won a civil lawsuit that had me preoccupied for quite some time. But the best part is, I am entitled to get a fair amount of money as damages. But now I came to know that the damages which I would receive would be subjected to taxation which slightly dampens the glow of my victory. Since I was somewhat ignorant of the taxation process, I decided to do some research on how the taxation is done and whether all damages need to be taxed or not. I hope you too will find this information useful if you are dealing with a similar situation.

Are all lawsuit settlements taxable?

Even if you win a lawsuit and are entitled to receive damages, often you won’t be able to take home the entire amount.  You are very likely to get an attorney bill, which will take away a share of it. More sobering news is that the IRS is going to lay a claim on the lump sum amount, which is sure to disappoint you.

The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is a government agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement. But not all damages are taxable. For example, the compensation for physical injury is tax-free. Suppose you had won a lawsuit against your previous employer and you receive damages as a payback, which is the amount you would have received if they hadn’t fired you. Since this doesn’t involve any physical harm, the entire amount is taxable.

Know what is Punitive damages and Compensatory damages

Punitive damages are awarded for the plaintiff as a compensation for the losses in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and compensate the plaintiff for his losses. The court is the ultimate power to decide how much the punitive damages should amount to.

Compensatory damages on the other hand are the actual damages the plaintiff receives as compensation for his expenses on medical costs, unearned income, emotional distress, pain and suffering. The compensatory damages are considered as per the exact calculation of losses. Punitive damages mean more benefit to the plaintiff.

Compensatory damages

How to calculate punitive damages

Suppose a car company made false promises regarding the safety of the vehicle and a customer met with an accident resulting $1000 worth of damages. In a punitive damage award, the court can announce a penalty of $1,000,000 against the company. Here the plaintiff gets the benefit of earning extra money, not just the repair cost! Obviously, the IRS would swoop down on this!

I hope this article provided some insight into what is punitive damages and compensatory damages and whether they are taxable or not. Consult with a tax agent to know more details!

Defamation Damages In Florida

What is punitive damages

                    Punitive damages explained

Defamation laws can often result in costly damages having to be paid by the defendant. These laws are taken very seriously in the state of Florida. Defamation is a legal term that can be used to describe both libel and slander. The laws in effect in the state of Florida present a great opportunity for students of law to study more about the damages that are involved in such cases. Punitive damages are also awarded by courts of law in some cases, which leads us to the question, “what is punitive damages?” The answer to this question, along with those to many others, is explained briefly below.

Definition of defamation

Defamation can be defined as the defiling of the character or reputation of a person, which results directly from false statements or actions from another person. It can include actions such as libel and slander, and as is the case in many other states, defamation cases are dealt with very strictly in the state of Florida.

What is punitive damages?

Punitive damages, simply defined, are monetary damages that are awarded in cases where the court of law feels that the damages that were originally awarded were not enough of a punishment for the defendant. These damages are not meant to cover for the actual losses that the plaintiff may have incurred due to the actions of the defendant. Instead, they are aimed at ensuring that the infraction is not committed again, either by the defendant or by those witnessing the damages he is made to pay for.

Online defamation charges in Florida

Defamation cases

                      More on punitive damages

In the state of Florida, online defamation is a chargeable offense. A case was filed in the Florida Supreme Court in 2010, which challenged the way defamation charges could be leveled, and the ruling on this was particularly interesting. The ruling made it clear that a person who is not a resident of the state of Florida can be sued by one who is, if there is enough evidence of the former posting defamatory material online. A ruling based on this was recently made in the state of Florida, where a resident of Louisiana had to pay $11 million in damages to a Florida resident, after it was found that defamatory material concerning the plaintiff was posted online by the defendant.

This is some information regarding the defamatory damages law in the state of Florida. Further information is available from legal resources.

A Short Note On Pennsylvania Lemon Law

What is punitive damages, Protection of the consumers

What is punitive damages and Pennsylvania Lemon Law

If you are a resident of the Pennsylvania region, it is highly likely that you would have come across the term Pennsylvania Lemon Law at least once. It is, as the name makes it evidently clear, is a law that has been drafted in order to protect consumers who have purchased a new vehicle for personal or family use and has registered the vehicle in Pennsylvania.

There are a few vehicles that does not come under the protective cover of this law such as motorcycles, motor homes, off-road vehicles or vehicles that seat more than 15 passengers. Punitive damage is also a key word that is also likely to be used along with Lemon Law quite often. So, what is Punitive damages? Is it different from the damages that a defendant has to pay as a punishment? Read on to know more about Pennsylvania Lemon Law and punitive damages.

For the Protection of the consumers

As mentioned above, the Pennsylvania Lemon Law stands for the protection of the consumers who purchase a vehicle intended for family use. If the consumer purchases a vehicle that is eligible for protection under the Lemon Law, and if the vehicle were to malfunction due to a nonconformity that substantially impairs the use, value or safety of a new vehicle, then it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to repair or correct the issues with the vehicle. This defect of the vehicle must happen within the first 12 months or 12,000 miles or otherwise the Lemon Law will not be applicable.

What is punitive damages

Punitive damages are awarded when it is deemed so by a court of

What is punitive damages, Protection of the consumers

Punitive damages and Pennsylvania Lemon Law

law that the reckless or malice act of the defendant caused damage to the plaintiff that cannot be punished by simply paying to the damage caused. It is a monetary punishment and is added on top of the damages that the defendant has to pay.

The main purpose of the laws on punitive damages is to discourage people from engaging in activities that are anti-social in nature. In some cases, awarding large punitive damages has created media controversies which have lead to severe criticisms to the existence of punitive damages.

This is some information regarding the Pennsylvania Lemon Law and punitive damages. If you are a resident of Pennsylvania, it is very important that you are aware of this law, as it is aimed at protecting the rights of the consumers.

How To Claim Punitive Damages Among Other Damages

what is punitive damages

what is punitive damages and claims

We are living at a time when anyone can sue anyone else for anything. The notion expressed here may not be of ruthless, unlawful claims but to the contrary, it could be one if the end does not justify the means. In order to be claiming for just reasons, ensure whether the following elements are present in your claim.

  • Know what a small claim is and if yours fall under the category, sue for the small amount which is well within the ceiling for small claim. It is suggested that you check with your state laws on this as the cause varies from state to state as you will be representing yourself without an attorney.
  • The claims usually addressed by small claims courts involve filling out forms and paying relevant fees. Here the case is represented without an attorney and hence does not involve attorney fees. 
  • If you find that you are not in a position to defend yourself, you may appoint a small claims attorney to defend you or approach a free legal services body. 
  • Collect all relevant data that justify your claim including proof that the financial loss you have suffered on the premise of the damage or inconvenience caused to you by the defendant. When a claim is against anyone for anything, you may include all financial losses and punitive damages. But before suing for punitive damages, know what is punitive damages.
  • Let the claim include compensatory damages and damages for pain and suffering. Make your claim appear big, for you are the one to judge what loss you have had to suffer.
  • Include the element of negligence- the boon in disguise to claimants of damages. Demonstrate that the action of the defendant was nothing short of sheer negligence besides being intentional. This way you get damages and he, a few good lessons! This is not very easy to prove though as there are many

    compensatory damages

    what is punitive damages in civil law

  • If your cause is not substantiated suitably by evidence or argument, the court may find the cause of action unfit for a claim and may summarily reject same in which case you must be prepared to pay for your cost as well as your opponent’s. Your suit may be found frivolous and for wrongful gains. The court may condemn you for wasting the time of the court and the other party.

Courts work on the basis of evidence provided and proved. Making up evidence is tantamount to a criminal act. So, stay within the facts to be safe.