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Punitive Damages

In private lawsuits, there are two general categories of pecuniary damages: compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory is further broken down to general damages and special damages. Special damages include specific medical expenses, future medical expenses, loss of earnings, and property damages. General damages include “pain and suffering,” emotional distress, and loss of consortium. These damages are intended to make the plaintiff “whole” and compensate them for their losses. Punitive damages are monetary damages, additional to the compensatory damages, which a judge or jury may award to a plaintiff to punish and make an example of the defendant for acting in an egregious manner beyond general negligence. Contrary to popular belief, they are seldom given, and when they are, they are generally well deserved. This ...

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