What Are Punitive Damages in California?
When you’ve been seriously injured because of the egregious negligence or malice of another person, you can seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim. In addition to compensatory damages, the injuring party can also be ordered to pay punitive damages. But what are punitive damages in California?
Definition of Punitive Damages in California
Punitive damages are awarded to someone who has filed a lawsuit against a person or entity for personal injury. These damages are unlike typical compensatory damages because they are an add-on award granted to the victim because of the malicious or egregious nature of the responsible party’s actions.
These kinds of damages are a punishment or deterrent for the injuring party, rather than solely being awarded to compensate the victim. The victim will, however, receive all or part of the punitive damages award.
When Do Punitive Damages Apply?
California law allows punitive damages (also called exemplary damages) to be awarded in an injury claim when it’s been demonstrated that the defendant’s behavior was especially malicious, fraudulent, or oppressive—basically, when the victim has been injured due to particularly vicious or despicable behavior.
Again, awarding these damages is meant to teach the defendant a lesson. An example of an instance in which punitive damages were awarded in a personal injury case is the case of Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co. Punitive damages were awarded due to the finding of gross disregard for the safety of others.
Get in Touch with a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer
Now you know a little more about what punitive damages are in California. If you have been injured in an accident, don’t hesitate to call Crowell Law Offices to discuss your case for free. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t have to pay for our services until we win you the fair compensation you deserve.
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