If you have any questions about punitive damages, this article will provide you with some clarification. For residents of Reno especially, the Law Office of Stephen Osborne is always at hand to address your concerns and so if you’ve found yourself searching online for “medical malpractice law firm Reno Nevada”, “personal injury law firm Reno Nevada”, “personal injury attorney reno nv”, or “Reno personal injury attorney”, you’re in the right place.
What are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, are those damages in which someone is injured due to the negligence of another party. They are considered punishment and are rewarded at the discretion of the court when the judge finds the defendant’s behavior to be especially harmful, like in the case of a drunk driver running over someone.
Punitive damages are given in order to punish the defendant and reform them so that they and others won’t engage in similar harmful conduct that led to the case in the first place.
A Few Punitive Damage Terms Used in Nevada
Now that we’re done with definitions, let’s find out a bit more about punitive damages. Under Nevada law in Section 42.005 of the Nevada Revised Statutes, recovery of punitive damages is permitted when the defendant’s wrongdoing is particularly shocking and the conduct consists of malice, conscious disregard, oppression, or fraud.
These terms are defined in NRS 42.001 as follows:
- Malice: This is conduct engaged in with disregard of the safety and rights or others, or is intended to injure you.
- Conscious disregard: This is willful failure to act in avoidance of possibly harmful consequences of a wrongful act.
- Oppression: This is bad conduct that subjects you to cruel hardship with a conscious disregard of your rights.
- Fraud: This is deception or an intentional misrepresentation of a fact known to the defendant made with the intent to injure you or deprive you of your rights or property.
Is there a ‘Cap’ to Punitive Damages in Nevada?
Punitive damages awarded in Nevada under NRS 42.005 are generally limited to or capped at:
- Three times the compensatory damages amount that is awarded to the plaintiff if the amount of compensatory damages is $100,000 or more, or
- $300,000 if the amount of the compensatory damages that are awarded to the plaintiff is $100,000 or less.
There are, however, some instances where there is no limit to the amount of punitive damages you can recover and these are if your case involves:
- A manufacturer, distributor, or seller of a product with defects.
- Certain violations of laws against discriminatory practices in housing.
- An insurer who acts in bad faith regarding their obligations to provide insurance.
- Damages or injuries resulting from the emission, spillage, or disposal of hazardous material.
- An auto accident caused by a driver who intentionally consumed drugs and/or alcohol.
In order to win an award, you need to prove that the defendant acted with malice, fraud, conscious disregard, or oppression intentionally or with a willful disregard to others’ well-being. You will need proof in the form of documents, communication, witnesses, and other such things and this is where a good medical malpractice lawyer can help you.
Economic damage awards are made up of both current and future anticipated costs for future expenses including damage of property, medical expenses, lost wages, tests like X-rays and MRIs, physical therapy, short and long-term care, lost earning capacity, and others. Along with damages like pain and suffering, these comprise compensatory damages for a plaintiff.
A Good Lawyer Will Help a Lot
If you or someone you know has been injured in Reno due to a trucking accident, car accident, defective product, or motorcycle accident, contact the Law Office of Stephen Osborne for assistance. We have an experienced Reno personal injury lawyer who will work with you to get the best results possible.
Our team of professional attorneys is well versed in finding legal theories that help our clients get the best possible amount to compensate them for their injuries, so welcome!