What You Need to Know About Recovering Punitive Damages in Pennsylvania Personal Injury Cases
In Pennsylvania, punitive damages are not awarded on a regular basis. They are only given on specific occasions in personal injury cases. Here is everything you need to know about recovering punitive damages in Pennsylvania personal injury cases.
Punitive Damages Definition
Punitive damages are awarded to the plaintiff in personal injury cases when the other party’s conduct is willful, malicious, or rises to another level. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim. They are meant to deter the defendant from acting in the same manner in the future so no one else gets hurt.
Criteria to Receive Punitive Damages in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law allows the plaintiff to receive punitive damages under set restrictions:
- Punitive damages cannot be awarded on their own. There must be compensatory damages as well.
- There are caps that limit punitive damages awarded in a lawsuit.
- Punitive damages are only available in cases involving malicious intent, misconduct, and extreme negligence.
When Are Punitive Damages Given?
It is rare for punitive damages to be awarded in personal injury cases. Because personal injury cases rely on negligence, it is difficult to prove that the defendant’s actions were willful. When these damages are awarded, they can add up to thousands or millions of dollars to the total amount of compensation recovered.
The following are examples of when punitive damages can be awarded in a personal injury case:
- A pharmaceutical company sold products that contained dangerous materials/ingredients and was fully aware of the dangers.
- Drunk driving cases where another individual becomes seriously injured or was killed.
- Medical malpractice cases involve intentional wrongdoings or gross negligence.
- Dog bite cases where the owner of the animal allowed or provoked the dog to attack the victim.