Introduction to Punitive Damage
Punitive damage is the damage which is accessed to punish any defendants for any kind of outrageous conduct to bring in reformation to the defendant and to the others who are also engaged in such outrageous conduct. It is quite similar to that of the punishments given under legal regulations. Punitive damages are also known as exemplary damages.
The main objective of punitive damage is to provide compensation to the plaintiff and to make the plaintiff able to receive some kind of punitive damage award. Punitive damages are generally awarded if it is observed that compensatory damages are inadequate remedial options. The court can impose punitive damage award to protect the plaintiff from under-compensations.
The court also allows an opportunity for redressing undetectable civil wrongs under the norms of the criminal justice system. In case of violation of any law, punitive damages seem to be most commonly used remedial options to the plaintiffs. In the cases where violations to any law are difficult to get identified, punitive damages are considered as effective. But punitive damages are awarded to any plaintiff in a country can vary from punitive damage awarded in another country.
For example, in the European Court punitive damages considered in the cases where violations to any private international law or public policy doctrine take place. Punitive damage awards are generally found to be more than the provable injuries of the plaintiffs or claimants. Hence, punitive damages are only awarded in some specific cases.
Punitive damages mainly observed in the case where civil wrong conducts results in loss or harm to the claimant and it is a legal obligation for the individual who has committed any kind of tortious act as per common law jurisdictions. Sometimes, financial losses, emotional distress, injuries, negligence, invasion of privacy, etc. are also considered to be civil wrongdoings under the regulations and norms of common law jurisdictions. In these cases, punitive damages are awarded to the claimants or plaintiffs. A plaintiff is an individual initiating a lawsuit in a court to seek any kind of legal remedy. The term plaintiff is mainly used in civil cases. The legal investigation is conducted as per the instructions of the court to identify whether the claim of the plaintiff is truthful or not. The court allows punitive damages to the plaintiffs or claimants if the compensatory damages are found to be inadequate as compared to the loss suffered by the plaintiffs or claimants.
Punitive damages can be defined as monetary rewards to be ordered by the court and to be paid to the plaintiff by a defendant in a lawsuit case. It is highly common for the claimant or the plaintiff to be awarded as compensation or money for any wrong committed by the defendants.
The money of the compensation which is to be paid to the plaintiffs can include property damage award, medical bills, and even damages to be awarded only to punish the defendants for their misconduct. The punitive damage award is paid by the defendant to the plaintiff. Punitive damages are the compensatory damages which are paid in addition to the actual loss suffered by the plaintiff or claimant. This is paid by the defendant to the plaintiff. It is also an act of giving punishment to the defendant for any kind of reckless and willful misconduct. The concept of punitive damages has been originated somewhere between 1970 and 1975.
These damages are also known as exemplary damages because the monetary amount which is awarded to the plaintiffs under the norms of a civil lawsuit is paid to punish the defendants for their willful misconduct. The defendants are given punishments because their misconduct is willful and intentional and the consequences of such actions are adverse on the part of the plaintiffs or claimants.
Punitive damages are awarded to provide an example in the society that any individual or an entity can be punished if found engaged in any wilful misconduct or wrong actions causing harm to any other individual or organization. Compensatory damages are generally paid in such cases. But when compensatory damages become inadequate to remedy the courts to apply punitive damage awards. The egregious conducts of the defendants can never be tolerated and the courts demand appropriate compensation in addition to compensatory damages to be paid to the plaintiffs by the defendants. Now our experts from Online Assignment Help will tell you more about the punitive damage and contract law.
Punitive Damage and Contract Law
Punitive damages are generally awarded as additional compensation to the actual damages suffered by the claimants of plaintiffs under certain circumstances. These damages are considered as punishments and typical awards as per the discretion of the court when the behavior of the defendant is declared to be harmful. Punitive damages fundamentally not awarded in case of any breach of the claim of any contract. In the tort liability cases, the court main adopts punitive damages to be applied. The plaintiff needs to prove that the behaviors of the defendants to be intentional tort or the behaviors which are engaged in wilful and went wanton misconduct. One of the examples where punitive damages have been observed is the case between National By-Products Inc. and Searcy House Moving Company.
The supreme court of Arkansas has identified that punitive damages are required to be awarded because the defendant intentionally proceeded with some unlawful behavior and actions even after knowing the fact that such actions would lead to severe injury. The features of Principal-Agent Relationship indicate that the courts are quite reluctant to declare punitive damage award on the principal for the misconduct of the agent. But there is also an exception to the norms where the principal is found to be causing or encouraging the reckless actions of the agents. It is very important to distinguish punitive damages in the contract law. Some contracts are listed with certain liquidated damages as the consequences of any breach of contract. The court made no such clause if the liquidated damages are similar to punitive damages.
Why Punitive Damages?
The importance of punitive damages can be understood in one example. There can be several examples from where punitive damages could be observed to have been awarded to the plaintiffs by the defendants as per the discretion of the court. In one of the examples, it can be seen that an organization which is engaged in manufacturing and distributing dietary supplements assures its customers about the safety and effectiveness of its products in losing weight.
The company has advertised its products by mentioning “all-natural” and claiming that the supplement is quite safe. One of the customers named, Amanda had believed in the claims of the company and took the product continuously for 30 days. But she became severely ill after her intake of the supplement. The doctors suggested that there was at least an ingredient or substance in the supplement which reacted with prescribed medications which Amanda was already taking or had taken for her health. Because of the presence of that particular substance in the supplement amount, Amanda became seriously ill.
The medical bill of Amanda amounted to about $5000 which made her file a case against the company under civil lawsuit to recover the entire medical expenses because she not only lost her wages but also she could not attend the office and work due to her illness. The claims which Amanda had made had been notified to the company and from the investigation, it has been revealed that the company was aware of the content formula of the weight loss supplement.
The company also knew that the particular substance could react negatively with certain prescribed medications and could put the health of the customers in a vulnerable situation.
During trials, the company did not try to breach any of the regulations and laws and also declared that it did not intend to call back the products or to modify its advertising campaign. These actions proved the recklessness and negligence on the part of the company.
This made the court to declare the judgment in favor of Amanda and asked the company to provide her with compensatory damages of $7000. The company had also been admonished by the court which indicated reckless and negligent actions of the company compromising with the health of its customers.
Amanda has been awarded punitive damages of $100000. The punitive damage award in the case of Amanda is much more than the compensatory damages. The court declared such a big amount as punitive damage award to compel the company to change the way it is marketing its product and to focus on the proactive actions the company should take to eliminate the negative consequences of such products on the population at large. Now our instant assignment help experts will explain you the differences between compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Difference between Punitive and Compensatory Damages
There is a difference between compensatory and punitive damages. Both these damages are monetary compensations which are awarded to the plaintiffs by the defendants in a civil lawsuit. Compensatory damages are found to be a most common type of damage awards because compensatory damages are provided to the plaintiffs to compensate them for any kind of loss either in terms of property or money due to the actions of the defendants. Compensatory damages can also be considered as actual damages. The actual compensations which are paid to the plaintiffs in case of any car accident or injury because of slip and fall accident or any monetary loss because of breach of contract committed by the defendant.
But punitive damages or exemplary damages are awarded for wrong actions and misconducts of the defendants making the plaintiffs to incur a certain loss. Punitive damages are mainly awarded by the defendants to the plaintiffs in addition to the compensatory damages or actual damages.
The courts declared as punitive damage awards with the main objective of differing the misconduct or negative behavior of the defendants which have resulted in any civil lawsuit. The court will always award punitive damages to portray the defendant as an example to the entire society when it is believed by the court that compensatory damages are inadequate to give punishment to the defendants.
An example can be used to explain the difference between compensatory and punitive damages. John while driving his truck was answering a text message. He suddenly slammed the back of another car which made some children stop from crossing the street. Michael who was driving another car had suffered whiplash and a serious strain to his shoulder. The rear end of his car had also been crushed badly by pickup truck of John.
John tried to explain to the police that Michael had stopped his car out of nowhere and the entire accident was his fault because the brake light of his car did not work properly. John refused to pay compensation for the expenses incurred by Michael. At this incident, Michael filed a civil lawsuit where he requested almost $4500 for the entire repair to his car and $3000 for his medical expenditure.
The court had given a quick judgment and identified the accident had been caused because of the negligence of john. This incident would have taken even more severe shape and hence, john had been identified to be a defendant the court awarded Michael compensatory damages for the entire amount which Michael had requested.
Furthermore, the court had also pointed out that john was not attentive while driving because he was using his cell phone which is an illegal and reckless act. This act of john could have endangered the lives of many people. Therefore, the judge had ordered john to make a punitive damage award of $10,000 to Michael which could help Michael to recover the total amount of $18,000.
Therefore, in this example, it has been seen that the compensatory damage award is the monetary compensation which is paid by the defendants to the plaintiff for the actual loss suffered by the plaintiff. The example has also debited the punitive damage which the defendant needs to pay to the plaintiff in addition to the actual loss. For more information you can also check with Assignment Help Canada.