Punitive damages are damages which are intended to deter a wrongdoer and others from engaging in similar wrongful conduct in the future. They are given to a plaintiff over and above the amount that will compensate them for their loss. Punitive damages are to be awarded only in exceptional cases, to punish a defendant who has acted in an especially egregious manner.
In order for a plaintiff to be awarded punitive damages, they must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that:
- Their injuries were the fault of the defendant
- That the defendant’s conduct was malicious; or
- The defendant acted in a wanton and willful disregard of the plaintiff’s rights
Malicious conduct means some sort of intentional wrongdoing. Willful or wanton conduct is a deliberate act or omission knowing that there is a high probability that this conduct will result in harm to another.
New Jersey’s punitive damages limit
In New Jersey, there is a limit on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in a case. Punitive damages are limited to the greater of $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages.
About RAM Law
RAM Law represents all of Central Jersey in personal injury cases and is staffed by experienced accident and injury attorneys. We provide legal help for victims of slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, workplace injuries, truck and car accidents, and other personal injuries. Call (732) 247-3600 to discuss your case and set up a free consultation at our New Brunswick or Somerville law offices.