What Are Punitive Damages and Can They Be Awarded in a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Case?

What Are Punitive Damages and Can They Be Awarded in a Pennsylvania Personal Injury CaseWhen filing a personal injury lawsuit, you are filing a civil action that is separate from the criminal system. As such, any form of “punishment” associated with a personal injury verdict comes in the form of money, and is termed “punitive damages.” Under Pennsylvania law, punitive damages may be awarded to a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit where a defendant’s conduct is malicious, willful, wanton, or at any other level that warrants the imposition of punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to deter future like conduct so that the same conduct does not result in similar harm to others. When it comes to personal injury cases, there may not be many situations where punitive damages are awarded, as negligent conduct is typically just that – pure negligence, and not intentionally harmful.

However, there are certain cases where a defendant’s conduct is so outrageous that a message needs to be made for the future. Cases where punitive damages may be awarded in a Pennsylvania court include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Pharmaceutical liability cases where the defendant manufacturer was aware of the dangers associated with its product (i.e., Depakote, Zoloft and other SSRIs, Reglan, Transvaginal Mesh, Zofran, Xarelto, and Risperdal, among many others);
• Drunk driving cases where an innocent victim suffered significant permanent injuries or death;
• Medical malpractice cases where a physician’s conduct in harming a patient is proven to be intentional and/or extremely reckless (such as operating on a patient while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or operating on the wrong body part); and
• Dog bite cases where a negligent dog owner willfully allowed his or her dog(s) to attack an innocent individual.

Will Punitive Damages Be Awarded in My Case?

Whether or not punitive damages will be awarded in any given personal injury case is something that cannot be determined until the latter stages of a particular litigation. It takes time and energy to investigate all facts to prove that a particular driver, drug manufacturer, medical doctor, or other negligent party should be forced to pay punitive damages under Pennsylvania law. In order for punitive damages to be awarded, a case must first go to trial. The fear of punitive damages leads many defendants to settle cases before trial, and this can sometimes be a better result for some clients. However, other clients may believe it is essential to hold a defendant accountable at trial. Pursuing punitive damages is a matter that you can and should discuss with your Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney.

Contact the Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorneys of Lundy Law Today For Your Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of another’s negligence, it is essential to act as quickly as possible. While many personal injury cases do not involve punishable conduct, but rather simple negligent conduct, there are situations where a defendant has committed acts that do warrant some form of punishment. Regardless of whether or not punitive damages will be available in your particular case, you still should consult with a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney to determine if you may be entitled to compensation. Nobody deserves to suffer at the expense of another’s conduct, regardless of whether that conduct was punishable or not. The Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorneys at Lundy Law have a proven reputation for helping their clients receive compensation for their injuries to the fullest extent allowable by law. With offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, Lundy Law has the ability to reach numerous injured individuals. If you would like to schedule a free consultation to speak with one of our attorneys, contact Lundy Law today by calling (800) LundyLaw.