Depending on the circumstances of your New Jersey lawsuit, you may be eligible to receive punitive damages. But what are punitive damages, and what do they mean for New Jersey plaintiffs?
Generally, punitive damages are funds awarded to New Jersey victims to punish defendants for gross negligence. Punitive damages do not compensate victims in the same ways that economic and non-economic damages do. Because of this, calculating punitive damages can be challenging. That said, New Jersey does provide guidelines for judges and juries to follow when awarding punitive damages, which can help victims gauge the amount they may receive. Punitive damages are not available in all New Jersey personal injury claims, only those stemming from intentional or grossly negligent acts. To improve your chances of recovering punitive damages in a lawsuit, turn to an experienced lawyer.
Our attorneys are dedicated to helping New Jersey victims get the damages they deserve. For a free case evaluation with the Edison personal injury lawyers at Legal Care, call today at (732) 838-9769.
What Are Punitive Damages in New Jersey?
In New Jersey lawsuits, there are three types of potential damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. While two types of damages seek to compensate victims for losses, one, punitive damages, seeks to punish New Jersey defendants for gross negligence.
In some cases, New Jersey victims can recover punitive damages in a lawsuit against a negligent party. Unlike economic damages, which seek to compensate victims for the financial impact of a defendant’s actions, or non-economic damages, which seek to compensate victims for the emotional impact of a defendant’s actions, punitive damages seek to punish a defendant for their actions.
Punitive damages do not compensate New Jersey victims for financial or emotional losses stemming from a negligent party’s actions. Instead, punitive damages are often used in situations of gross negligence or to make an example out of a defendant and deter others from acting in similar ways.
To possibly recover punitive damages, New Jersey victims must explicitly request these damages in an initial complaint against a negligent party. Based on your case, your New Jersey personal injury lawyer can determine the likelihood that you will be awarded punitive damages and request them at the onset of your lawsuit against a negligent party.
Understanding punitive damages can be difficult, especially as they may be widely unknown to New Jersey victims. To gain a deeper understanding of punitive damages and how they may factor into your compensation claim, speak to a New Jersey personal injury lawyer. It’s important that plaintiffs be aware of all potential damages available to them.
How Do You Calculate Punitive Damages in New Jersey?
Calculating punitive damages can be extremely difficult. These specific damages are entirely subjective, meaning a New Jersey judge or jury can award any amount up to a specific threshold. To better understand the punitive damages you might receive in a New Jersey lawsuit, consult an experienced attorney.
According to N.J.S.A. § 2A:15-5.14, there is a cap on punitive damages. In New Jersey, victims can only receive punitive damages that equate to five times the amount awarded in compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever amount is greater.
So, suppose you received $100,000 in compensatory damages at the end of your lawsuit. According to New Jersey’s guidelines, you could be awarded up to $500,000 in punitive damages. New Jersey plaintiffs who receive substantially less compensatory damages can be awarded up to $350,000 in punitive damages.
While there is a threshold for punitive damages in New Jersey, the amount awarded by a judge or jury is up to their discretion, provided it’s within the guidelines. Your Newark personal injury lawyer can prepare you for the potential amount in punitive damages you could receive based on a defendant’s actions and their own experience litigating similar claims.
When calculating punitive damages, a New Jersey judge or jury must consider all relevant evidence, including whether or not a defendant profited because of the gross negligence they that caused your injuries, the time a defendant’s misconduct ended, and a defendant’s personal finances.
Are Punitive Damages Available to All New Jersey Victims?
Recovering punitive damages in New Jersey can be difficult. These damages aren’t available in every lawsuit and are only possible when a defendant’s actions are exceedingly bad. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may or may not be eligible for punitive damages in New Jersey.
According to N.J.S.A. § 2A:15-5.12, plaintiffs can only receive punitive damages in certain situations. Unless your Paterson personal injury lawyer can prove that a defendant acted with actual malice or a wanton and willful disregard for you, it’s unlikely you will be awarded punitive damages.
Generally, lawsuits are used as a vehicle for victims to recover compensation for the financial or emotional damages incurred due to another person’s negligence. Lawsuits are not necessarily designed to punish a defendant but to set the score, so to speak. That is why punitive damages are rare and difficult to recover in New Jersey lawsuits.
Judges and juries award punitive damages, so they are generally only available when New Jersey lawsuits go to trial. If you choose to settle out of court, you will not recover punitive damages. Suppose you do not request punitive damages in your initial complaint against a defendant. In that case, you won’t be eligible to receive punitive damages.
Generally, New Jersey victims are more likely to recover punitive damages in lawsuits against corporations, institutions, or public figures. Remember, the court generally awards punitive damages to punish gross negligence and to set an example, in an effort to dissuade others from engaging in similarly negligent behavior.
Our New Jersey Attorneys Can Help You File a Lawsuit Today
If you’ve recently sustained injuries due to a negligent party’s actions, our attorneys can help you get the justice you deserve. For a free case evaluation with the Jersey City personal injury lawyers at Legal Care, call today at (732) 838-9769.