FAQ on Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, exemplary damages and civil penalties:

“Punitive damages” consist of an award of money against a defendant in a court case, in an

amount intended to, and sufficient to, punish the defendant and make an example of him or her.

Another name for these damages is “exemplary damages” because they make an example of the

defendant and hopefully deter others from the same kind of conduct. A related concept is a “civil

penalty” that serves the same end. Punitive damages are unusual.

Grounds required

Special grounds are required before punitive damages can be awarded. Although each state has

its own standard, generally to win punitive damages your attorney will have to show intentional

or willful and malicious or gross negligence. If the injury is intended, or where it is proven by

clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice,

the plaintiff may recover punitive damages.

Every case is different, and the decision to attempt getting punitive damages must be made by a

competent attorney after review of all the relevant facts. Furthermore, the laws pertaining to

punitive damages differ from state to state and some cities may have special rules that apply to

the martial arts. Therefore, it is essential that you obtain the advice of a competent attorney

regarding punitive damages.

Kaufman Law Group, PLLC

8000 Towers Crescent Drive

Suite 1350

Vienna, VA 22182


703.764-0014 (fax)