What are Punitive Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit? | Scott Goodwin Law

What are Punitive Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

by / Wednesday, 06 September 2023 / Published in Personal Injury
Statue of lady justice holding scales.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s important to understand the damages you can recover. The main type of damages is compensatory damages, which includes things like medical bills, lost income, and some non-financial losses like pain and suffering. But in some extreme situations, you might be eligible for punitive damages. 

Punitive damages are a type of damage awarded when the at-fault party had acted in a way that was so outrageously and deliberately negligent, showing a blatant disregard for the rights of others, that extra damages are given as a punishment and to deter others acting in similar ways. 

Instead of punitive damages, the state of Michigan allows for exemplary damages. Exemplary damages are similar to punitive damages, but they have a slightly different purpose. While exemplary damages are also awarded in cases of extreme negligence, they can only be awarded to compensate the victim, not to punish the at-fault party. They are meant to be a way to make victims whole for extreme emotional damages. 

For exemplary damages to be an option, the at-fault party’s actions need to have been voluntary, not accidental. For example, did the manufacturer of a defective product have multiple warnings that the product posed a safety hazard to consumers, which the company ignored? 

Whether or not you can recover exemplary damages in a personal injury lawsuit is a complicated question to answer and is something that depends on your specific case and the facts about how it occurred. Consulting a personal injury lawyer is the best way to find out if you could be eligible for exemplary damages. 

Contact a Michigan Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury lawsuits are often very complex and it’s important to have someone on your side who knows the law and can help protect your rights. At Scott Goodwin Law, we’re experienced in handling a wide range of accident cases in the state of Michigan, including medical malpractice, dog attacks, motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, and birth trauma. 

Every case is unique and we work to understand the facts that apply to every case we handle so that we can explore every option to help clients get the justice they deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help you.