Punitive damages are money awarded on top of compensatory damages, and they surpass the determined monetary value of your loss. These kinds of damages are rarely awarded, and their purpose is to deter the defendant from similar actions in the future. What counts as an act deserving of punitive damages is often vague and arbitrary, but fraud, bad faith, and an intent to harm usually make the list. For example, a car company that knowingly neglected safety issues in its car’s steering wheel could be ordered to pay punitive damages to the family whose son died in a car crash as a result of the faulty wheel.
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