The legal community has 2 reasons for supporting the practice of burdening some defendants with the need to pay punitive damages.
The twofold purpose of punitive damages
It is meant to burden a designated defendant with a punishment, owning to the evidence of that same defendant’s reprehensible behavior. In addition, judges and personal injury lawyers hope that such a punishment manages to reduce the chances for a repetition by the defendant of his or her objectionable behavior.
Features lacking in the awarding of punitive damages
That action is not taken with an eye towards compensating a plaintiff for losses claimed in a personal injury case. The size of the award depends on the extent of the plaintiff’s loss and the impact of the associated accident.
Details on conduct that triggers imposition of punitive damages
As per the personal injury lawyer in Grande Prairie, the defendant has been charged with committing an act that qualifies as gross negligence. Defendant’s conduct has demonstrated a disregard for the safety of others. That conduct has also shown a lack of respect for the life or rights of other individuals.
Any attitude of disrespect that has been shown by the defendant needs to be accompanied by performance of a reckless act. In the absence of such a performance, a judge is unlikely to award the punishing request for an added payment on the part of the defendant. On the other hand, a witness that observes a reckless act could well be eager to report what was witnessed. In that way, the super-careless and neglectful defendant might get hit with the need to provide a plaintiff with a punishing award. Consequently, the same defendant could be forced to behave in a more acceptable fashion.
Details on the size of the awarded damages
In some states the size of that award has been limited to an amount that is no more than 3 times larger than what was awarded for compensatory damages. In other states it is a maximum of $500,000.
Guidelines for requesting imposition of punitive damages
In no court will the authorities in a courtroom encourage the presentation of a poorly-based request that the defendant in a personal injury case get a punishment, one that takes the form of a demand for money, in addition to the compensatory damages. The court does not want to set aside time for pursuing and supporting some person’s frivolous charges.
Because courts understand how a demand for money can serve as a punishment, those same administrators of justice do not hesitate to place a sanction on any person that has behaved improperly in a courtroom. If a lawyer and client request undue punishment for a defendant, those two could bet hit with monetary sanctions.