Punitive Damages Don’t Always Apply
Video Transcribed: What are punitive damages? This is Christopher Stevens here certified paralegal with the Wirth Law Firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma, working in personal injury in Tulsa. And today we’re going to be discussing the concept of punitive damages.
Now, previously in our videos, we’ve discussed economic damages or the damages that have that firm price tag to them, your non-economic damages such as pain and suffering that encompass the things that are a bit harder to track down, and we also have punitive damages.
Punitive damages don’t always apply, but they do in some extreme cases. Now, punitive damages tend to hold two primary functions. The first is they are designed to punish the person who caused the injury, and you’ll see this pop up whenever that person has committed some pretty extreme negligence or their acts are just so incredibly egregious.
And secondly, the punitive damages are there to help deter anyone else from doing that same extreme conduct. So this doesn’t apply to every case, but one example in which it might is if, say, you have a motor vehicle collision.
While normally you might not have punitive damages, if it turns out that the person who caused the wreck was drunk at the time and just caused it a truly severe car wreck because they were intoxicated whenever they got behind the wheel, you might be able to make a claim for punitive damages as well.