WHAT ARE PUNITIVE DAMAGES?
The word “damages” refers to payments made to a person who suffered loss or injury due to another’s actions. “Punitive” refers to something that punishes a wrongdoer for committing harm. Therefore, punitive damages are monies that must be paid to the person who was harmed by the party that committed the harm or injury.
This financial punishment of punitive damages (also called exemplary damages) is designed to motivate the at-fault party not to continue producing or distributing the harmful product, or to fix the problem so it does not cause harm anymore.
When someone has been awarded punitive damages, it means a court has ordered the at-fault party to pay the awarded amount to the person who was injured.
Punitive damages are separate from compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are awarded to the injured party to help compensate for his or her harm and losses that were caused by the defective product. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for its actions.