Punitive damages is defined as those damages given to someone with an intention to punish, reform, deter a defendant, and even others from committing similar acts in the future (Sunstein, 1998). These damages are not intended to compensate the plaintiff; the plaintiff will receive some if not all the punitive damage awarded. These damages are often awarded in a case where compensatory damages are not adequate remedy to prevent under-compensation of the plaintive (Sunstein, 1998).
Punitive damages is only awarded if proper evidence is provided that the defendant act was reckless (if one’s rights are not observed) in upholding plaintiff’s rights and the degree of malice (if it ill intentioned) under which defendant conduct is judged. Another reason why punitive damage is given is to implement the tort law. Tort law is an umbrella of laws dealing with civil wrong doings (Redden, 1987). Tort law views the wrong doing being not a crime. The common torts are; negligent, strict liability, and intentional torts.
Punitive damages are awarded to plaintiff if the defendant engaged in one of the torts, for example one can be penalized by committing an intentional or a negligent tort which results in the injury (not necessarily physical) to the plaintiff (Sunstein, 1998). Also punitive damages can fully depend on one’s health i. e. before and after the mess. This health status of the plaintiff is a very important parameter during court process since it acts as a means of estimating damages to be awarded.
Torts are associated with damages given to place the plaintiff to return his/her condition before the tort occurred. Also its proportionality to the offence and tangible evidences (Redden, 1987). The main disadvantages of awarding punitive damage are that they are awarded in court systems recognizing them and it will be difficult to implement in another system because it might not recognize it (Sunstein, 1998).
In conclusion punitive damages are awarded to implement a tort especially when one’s health status is affected after the negligent or malicious act by another person to him/her. References Sunstein, C. R, Kahneman, D. & Schkade, D. A. (1998) Assesing Punitive Damages torts and damages. London: Edward Elgar Publishers. Redden, K. R & Bates, G. A. (1987). Punitive damages. New York: Michie Company Publishers.